ARCTIC CIRCLE- The Norfolk-based USS Harry S. Truman has entered the Arctic Circle, marking the first time a Navy carrier has done that in nearly three decades.
The Truman entered the area Friday ahead of operations in the Norwegian Sea for the large NATO exercise Trident Juncture 2018.
The Navy says the carrier is accompanied by several ships from Carrier Strike Group 8 and they "traveled north to demonstrate the flexibility and toughness of U.S. naval forces through high-end warfare training with regional allies and partners."
The last ship to go there was the conventionally-powered USS America (CV 66) in September 1991 as part of another NATO exercise, North Star.
“We are unbelievably excited to be operating in the Norwegian Sea,” said Harry S. Truman Commanding Officer, Captain Nick Dienna, in a Navy release. “It has been over three decades since carrier aviation has been tested by this environment, and, despite the arduous weather and sea conditions, these men and women are demonstrating this ship can bring a full-spectrum of capabilities to bear anywhere in the world.”
The Truman will deal with freezing temperatures, high winds and uneasy seas while in the region.
As News 3 reported earlier this month, Trident Juncture is expected to be the largest NATO exercise since 2002.
45,000 service members from 31 different nations - including 29 NATO allies and two partner nations of Sweden and Finland - are expected to participate.
It's intended to send a signal to Russia as well.
Trident Juncture kicks off on Thursday and is expected to run through November.