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1976 naval war games

1976 naval war games

Feb. 3, 1976: A jet lands on the USS Enterprise, right, as the guided missile cruiser USS Chicago passes stern of the carrier. In background left is the New Zealand frigate HMNZS Caterbury, and at right is USS Gridley. An international naval exercise was under way off California coast.

Staff writer Charles Hillinger reported in the March 5, 1976, Los Angeles Times:

AT SEA ABOARD THE USS ENTERPRISE – The largest international naval war exercise off the West Coast in more than a decade is under way in Southern California waters.

A total of 41 ships, 200 jet fighter planes and 18,000 men from five nations are taking part in the war games that will continue through March 12.

Latest British and American surface-to-air and surface-to-surface missiles are being fired at airborne drones and hulls of decommissioned World War II minesweepers 250 miles off San Diego.

San Clemente Island is being shelled by sailors manning turrets of large guns on Canadian, British, New Zealand and American ships.

Australian, British, American, New Zealand and Canadian fighter planes are making simulated bombing runs on the fleet from a number of air bases in California, bombarding land targets on desert ranges near Yuma and engaging “enemy” aircraft in mock combat.

F-14 Tomcats, S-3A Vikings and RA-5C Vigilantes roar off the flight deck of the U.S. Navy’s “Big E,” the nuclear-powered carrier Enterprise, catapulted into the sky in daylight and nighttime missions.

“This is an absolutely final exercise for our allied forces,” explained Rear Adm. J.D.E. Fieldhouse, 48, commander of the squadron of nine British warships participating in the war games.

“The Russians have the largest navy in the world. The West has to maintain an ability to operated together. It is important that we demonstrate our capability of doing this sort of thing as a deterrent to war.”

This photo by staff photographer Art Rogers was published on the front page of the March 5, 1976, Los Angeles Times.

scott.harrison@latimes.com

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