Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) finished its role exercise Trident Juncture 18 with allied NATO forces Nov. 15.

The exercise ensured that NATO forces are trained and able to operate together and ready to respond to any threat from any direction.

“Trident Juncture was a difficult event to execute, but it was beautifully done and very much worthwhile,” said Rear Adm. Brad Skillman, Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 2. “Our visit to Oslo was a culmination of Trident Juncture and a thank you to Norway for being wonderful hosts and performing beautifully throughout the exercise.”

Trident Juncture 18 also gave the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marines the opportunity to test their own unit cohesion during the exercise through amphibious and flight operations. U.S. Marines rely on the amphibious capabilities of  Navy warships to transport their troops as close to foreign shore lines as possible so the Marines can execute their missions as quickly and effectively as possible.

“The training Trident Juncture 18 provided is important because we have Marines who have never deployed, been on ship or operated in the cold weather environment that Iceland and Norway have,” said Sgt. Maj. Chris Garza, the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit Sergeant Major.

Following Trident Juncture 18, Iwo Jima hosted Kenneth J. Braithwaite, U.S. Ambassador to Norway, where he spoke to the crew and distinguished guests during a dinner reception that was held to celebrate the successful conclusion of the exercise.

“The fundamental outcome of Trident Juncture was to establish a strong deterrent message, it served as a reminder to the entire world, both friend and foe, that the NATO alliance of 29 sovereign nations is the world’s largest and most successful military alliance in the history of the world,” said Braithwaite.

Trident Juncture 18 was the largest NATO-led exercise in more than 20 years, with participation from approximately 40,000 troops and more than 30 NATO member and partner nations. Trident

Juncture 18 provided U.S. forces with unique opportunities to train with our NATO Allies and partners and will serve to strengthen our transatlantic bonds in a dynamic and challenging environment.

The Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group embarks the 24th MEU and is comprised of the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7), amphibious dock landing ship USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44) and amphibious transport dock ship USS New York (LPD 21), Fleet Surgical Team 6, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 22, Tactical Air Control Squadron 22, components of Naval Beach Group 2 and the embarked staffs of Expeditionary Strike Group 2 and Amphibious Squadron 8.