The U.S. Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), set sail from the naval base Yokosuka, Japan, on Tuesday, starting her 2017 Asia patrol.
The carrier was initially scheduled to deploy yesterday, May 15, but was delayed after a material issue that needed repair was discovered. The navy did not specify what the issue was.
USS Ronald Reagan deployed with some 5,000 sailors for what is usually a 6-9 month deployment. During her deployment, the carrier will be accompanied by destroyers, cruisers and nuclear-powered submarines.
As reported yesterday, the Ronald Reagan carrier strike group starts the Asia-Pacific region patrol in a period of mounting tensions between the U.S. and North Korea, caused by the Pyongyang regime’s repeated missile tests.
North Korea has stepped up missile tests recently and has made several launches since U.S. president Donald Trump took office in January. The latest missile test took place on Sunday with a new type of rocket capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.
The U.S. Navy already has one aircraft carrier operating in waters of the Korean Peninsula. The San Diego-based USS Carl Vinson was ordered to change course in April and sail north instead of visiting Australia for exercises, following North Korean tests.