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NEWS | Sept. 28, 2021

Navy Reserve Sailors Support Inaugural Large Scale Exercise 2021

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Eugene Kretschmer and Seaman Mass Communication Specialist Jack Barnell, U.S. Fleet Forces Command Public Affairs

There was a feeling of anticipation in the air at Naval Station Norfolk as Sailors, both Active Duty and Reserve, worked to prepare for the largest U.S. Navy exercise to date.
Large Scale Exercise (LSE) 2021 involved more than 25,000 participants across 17 time zones, including more than 35 ships at sea. LSE 2021 also utilized numerous virtual units, computer-generated tracks fed into sensor systems, rehearsing the Navy’s ability to employ precise, lethal, and overwhelming force globally.

For Navy Reserve Sailors, LSE 2021 represented an opportunity to sharpen their skills on a global stage by participating in one of the largest naval exercises ever undertaken.

“LSE 2021 puts the Reserve Sailor into an environment where they get to do the things they learn about and train to do them well,” said Rear Adm. Christopher Asselta, deputy for Navy Construction Force, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC). “Operating alongside their active-duty counterparts is one of the most valuable aspects that exercises like LSE 2021 provide to the Reserve Sailor.” 
Although certain elements of LSE 2021 were virtual, all the training was very real.
“Training for real-world events is vital to the sustainment and fighting power of the Navy,” said Senior Chief Information Technician Specialist Anita Harmon, a Reserve Sailor assigned to Navy Reserve Military Sealift Command (MSC) Far East. “If we don't get opportunities like this, we won't know what to do when we are called up to fill these positions.”
As a watch officer, Harmon worked with both real-world and exercise assets during the event, providing valuable support for supply ships such as underway replenishment oiler USNS Yukon (T-AO 202) and dry cargo ship USNS Washington Chambers (T-AKE 11). She said it was an experience unlike any other and a challenge she welcomed.
Other Sailors felt challenged as well.
“Many long days, but I think it’s really good training, especially for me,” said Gunner's Mate 2nd Class James Marshall, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC), “This is really where I get my rate training. I get to familiarize myself with our boat crew and equipment—that helps create the kind of crew bonding that will help during mobilization.”

“Exercises like LSE help to get Reservists like me up to speed with training, repetition, and various sets of situations that will better prepare me for mobilization,” said Cmdr. Brendan Maguire, Joint Deployment and Maritime Operations Centers.  
LSE 2021 was the first iteration of what is slated to become a triennial exercise, to include U.S. partners and allies from around the world.
“If someone joined the Reserve thinking there’s no chance of ever being recalled, then they didn't have the right frame of mind when they signed up,” Harmon said. “Warfighting readiness is what we’re called on to sharpen, and that’s what we do.”