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Valiant Shield military exercise participants housed in Guam hotels

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HAGÅTÑA (The Guam Daily Post) — Hundreds of participants in Valiant Shield, a massive military exercise held on Guam and in waters around the Marianas every two years, will be staying in Guam hotels but their movement will be restricted, the military has confirmed.

The service members were quarantined for 14 days and tested negative for Covid-19 prior to their Guam trip, stated Navy Lt. Cmdr. Rick Moore, public affairs officer for Joint Region Marianas.

"In support of exercise events, service members will only be permitted to travel between their designated hotel room and their appointed place of military duty on base," stated Moore.

Flight had mechanical trouble

A group of Valiant Shield exercise participants arrived on Guam Tuesday via a flight contracted by the military. The group was initially headed to Guam Saturday but their flight had to make a detour to Hawaii.

The aircraft was experiencing mechanical trouble, according to Hawaii news reports.

There were 198 service members on board and 14 crew members on the Atlas Air chartered flight that was bound for Guam that had to land back in Honolulu Saturday.

"They were able to board a different aircraft and arrived to Guam yesterday,"  confirmed Army Maj. Randy Ready, a spokesman for U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Public Affairs at Camp Smith, Hawaii.

The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, foreground, leads a formation of Carrier Strike Group ships as Air Force B-52 Stratofortress and Navy F/A-18 Hornet aircraft pass overhead during Valiant Shield 2018 in the Philippine Sea on Sept. 17, 2018. U.S. Navy photo

During the service members' stay on Guam for Valiant Shield, Moore stated, their restriction "will be strictly enforced and is for the health and safety of both the local community as well as the service members involved in the exercise."

"All Government of Guam Pandemic Condition of Readiness and Executive Order guidelines apply and any service member suspected to be in violation will be investigated and held accountable, if appropriate," Moore stated.

Department of Defense officials coordinated with their Government of Guam partners to ensure all safety and Covid-19 procedural compliance measures will be met and maintained during this hotel stay, Moore stated.

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