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Philippine Sea (Apr. 30, 2003) -- Aviation Boatswain's Mate 1st Class Thomas Williford gives the go ahead for an AV-8B Harrier jet to execute a vertical takeoff during flight operations on the flight deck aboard USS Essex (LHD 2). Essex and her embarked 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) are participating in Exercise Tandem Thrust 2003. Tandem Thrust is a joint military exercise being held in the Northern Mariana Islands with forces from the United States, Canada and Australia.  U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 3rd Class Stephanie M. Bergman.  (RELEASED)

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US Navy / Marine Corps
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