The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) conducted flight operations April 5 in conjunction with maritime security patrols while steaming across the South China Sea.
Stennis routinely performs aircraft launch and recovery operations in cooperation with other U.S. ships in its strike group to enhance regional security and maintain operational readiness.
“We are excited to be back in 7th Fleet and the South China Sea,” said Capt. John Beaver, commander of Destroyer Squadron 21. “We have long standing partnerships in this region and an ongoing presence here is evidence of our enduring commitment to the peace and stability of Southeast Asia.”
Crisscrossing the South China Sea are vital international shipping lanes where nearly one-third of the world’s shipping passes through. The sea and small islands inside it are also subject to territorial disputes by many countries in the region due in part to the belief that the area contains large oil and gas reserves.
The John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group (JCSCSG) entered the South China Sea April 4 after concluding a successful three-day port visit to the Republic of Singapore where Stennis hosted a formal reception for distinguished guests from Singapore and the U.S. Embassy. Sailors also took part in community relations projects and experienced local cultures.
Stennis entered U.S. 7th Fleet March 26 after spending nearly five months in U.S. 5th Fleet supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. The strike group also participated in theater security cooperation exercises with ships from nations who are equally committed to this region including the Royal Navy frigate HMS Monmouth (F 235), the French destroyer FS Chevalier Paul (D621), and the Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Toowoomba (FFH 156).
The John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group, consisting of Stennis, Carrier Air Wing Nine (CVW 9), Destroyer Squadron 21 and guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53), is forward deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility promoting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts.
Naval Today Staff, April 8, 2013; Image: US Navy