Source: United States Navy Pacific Fleet
SOUTH CHINA SEA – The Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group has returned to the South China Sea for the third time of its 2020 deployment.
The carrier strike group includes the Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) and the embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54), and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Halsey (DDG 97) and USS John S. McCain (DDG 56).
While in the South China Sea, the strike group is conducting maritime security operations, which include flight operations with fixed and rotary wing aircraft, maritime strike exercises, and coordinated tactical training between surface and air units.
Sailing nearly 56,000 nautical miles so far this deployment, the strike group is committed to upholding U.S. security agreements with regional allies and partners, and demonstrating the capability of forward-deployed naval forces to quickly respond to any contingency throughout the region.
“Throughout our deployment, we continue our long tradition demonstrating the United States’ commitment to the lawful use of the seas and maintaining open access to the international commons,” said Rear Adm. George Wikoff, commander, Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group. “The focus of our operations has always been, and will continue to be, cooperation alongside our Indo-Pacific allies and partners in promoting regional stability.”
Throughout the 2020 deployment, Ronald Reagan and accompanying units have routinely integrated with ally and partner naval forces to build high-end warfighting readiness through air defense, anti-submarine warfare, maritime strike, and force protection exercises. The strike group recently operated in the Indian Ocean, conducted two transits through the Strait of Malacca, and completed various multinational exercises throughout the Indo-Pacific.
Taking a cooperative approach to regional security and stability, the United States remains committed to protecting the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea, and the ability of all countries to exercise those rights. Together, the U.S. and its allies promote peace and prosperity by supporting international norms.
The Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group is forward-deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific region. U.S. 7th Fleet conducts forward-deployed naval operations in support of U.S. national interests in the Indo-Pacific area of operations. As the U.S. Navy’s largest numbered fleet, 7th Fleet interacts with 35 other maritime nations to build partnerships that foster maritime security, promote stability, and prevent conflict.