The U.S. Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) concluded the first segment of its 2016 patrol and returned to Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY) July 26.
The Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group conducted 53 days of strike group operations in the Western Pacific, including the waters south of Japan, Philippine Sea and South China Sea to improve combat readiness, develop cohesion as a strike group and engage partners in the region.
“I am exceptionally proud of this crew for their professionalism and precision throughout each evolution,” said Capt. Buzz Donnelly, Ronald Reagan’s commanding officer. “Their operation of this warship and its assets demonstrates our unique warfighting capability and represents the true strength of our country’s forward-deployed naval forces.”
The Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group conducted air-defense drills, surface and subsurface surveillance, basic and advanced strike training, electronic emissions control training, U.S. Air Force integration, extended flight operations, coordinated maneuvers, and other exercises. Over the course of the patrol, more than 600 sorties were flown in support of air defense operations and more than 300 sorties were flown in support of anti-surface and anti-submarine missions.
“Our team’s skillset, ability to focus on the basics, and energy got us through,” said Cmdr. Patrick Boyce, Ronald Reagan’s operations officer. “Not only did we get through it, but we broke records. Our logistics support operations and air operations were probably more instrumental than ever in our daily strike group successes.”
Ronald Reagan completed multiple replenishments-at-sea, including the largest one the ship has ever completed, demonstrating the ship’s ability to sustain operations in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.
“Our accomplishments during this time at sea demonstrate our ability to effectively use our resources to continue the forward progress of our unmatched power in the air and at sea,” said Capt. Paul Lanzilotta, Ronald Reagan’s executive officer.
Ronald Reagan also conducted dual-carrier operations with the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group that allowed the strike groups to practice warfighting techniques in close proximity.
“The ability to maneuver and integrate with other platforms and communicate with our allies is vital to our success,” said Donnelly. “Operating together with our Reagan strike group, with the Stennis strike group, with Military Sealift Command, and with our allies and partners during this patrol has enhanced our levels of communication and coordination.”
During her patrol, Ronald Reagan hosted international military and civilian officials to increase governmental interoperability and fortify foreign partnerships and alliances.
While operating close to homeport, Ronald Reagan and crew are slated to complete a rigorous inspection of all ship’s systems to ensure the ship is able to conduct sustained operations at sea now and for the remainder of its service life. Ronald Reagan provides a combat-ready force, which protects and defends the collective maritime interests of the U.S. and its allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.