Navy Seventh Fleet undertakes Y2K landing exercise

The Navy's Seventh Fleet has kicked off an operational Year 2000 exercise on and around Okinawa with eleven ships and thousands of Marines from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, which will conduct an amphibious landing with their clocks rolled forward to the new year.

The amphibious landing, which will involve Marines from the 31st MEU conducting a practice assault with air-cushion landing craft, AV-8 Harrier "jump jets," helicopters and tracked amphibious assault vehicles, will begin Sept. 22 when all participants in the exercise roll their system clocks forward to Dec. 31, 1999.

"Y2K is a top priority of the U.S. Seventh Fleet and is an important readiness issue," a Seventh Fleet spokesman said. "This validation exercise will help the Navy and Marine Corps ensure an uneventful transition to the Year 2000."

Ships participating in the exercise include the Seventh Fleet command ship; the USS Vincennes, a cruiser; and the USS Belleau Wood, an amphibious assault ship, which serves as the floating barracks for the 31st MEU and features a flight deck for aircraft and a well-deck in the stern for landing craft and assault vehicles.

The Belleau Wood, homeported in Sasebo, Japan, features a state-of-the-art Navy Information Technology for the 21st Century fiber-optic communications backbone operating at 155 megabits/sec that hosts ten separate classified networks and eight unclassified networks.

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