Navy begins live-fire training in Pacific Ocean

Tuesday - 7/17/2012, 8:22pm EDT

The U.S. Navy joined 21 other countries in live-fire exercises near Kauai, Hawaii this week and sank a decommissioned naval ship during target practice.

The Navy is participating in the Pacific Ocean exercises that run through early August. Live-fire training allows naval crews to practice tactics, targeting and live-firing against targets on the ocean's surface, according to a statement released by the Navy.

"These exercises provide important opportunities for realistic at-sea training with live ordnance, conditions that cannot be duplicated otherwise," said Vice Adm. Gerald Beaman.

The training enhances combat readiness for naval units and is the largest international maritime exercise. More than 40 ships and submarines joined more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 military personnel participating in the exercises, according to the Navy.

The USNS Niagara Falls sank in waters more than 15,000 feet deep, about 63 miles southwest of the island. The ship was decommissioned in 2008 after more than 40 years of service.

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