USS Ronald Reagan Back in the Fight

On May 4, 2020, the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) triumphantly sailed out of her berth in Yokosuka, Japan alongside her escorts in preparation for a spring patrol in the Western Pacific. The move marks the end of a nearly month long period where the People's Liberation Army's Navy possessed the only aircraft carrier in the Western Pacific. During that time period, both the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) and USS Ronald Reagan were unable to preform their intended missions due to numerous COVID-19 cases and scheduled repairs.

In an interview with Stars and Stripes, Task Force 70 Commander Rear Adm. George Wikoff observed, "I think it means a lot not only to our sailors of our strike group but also to our nation as a whole and our partners and allies that we get Reagan back to sea and back out on deployment where she belongs."

The Regan Strike Group departs Japan at a time of increased Chinese military activity in the South China Sea. The up and coming power has used their period of superiority to threaten a Philippine naval vessel, sink a Vietnamese fishing boat, conduct a massive naval exercise, and intimidate the Malaysians from engaging in offshore natural resource development.

For decades, the Carrier Strike Group (CSG) has proven to be a principal element of US power projection. Usually composed of 7,200 personnel, an aircraft carrier, a carrier air group of 60 aircraft, at least one cruiser, a destroyer squadron, and an undisclosed number of submarines, it serves as a potent tool that can be wielded to great effect.

News of the Reagan's departure from Japan dwarfed the Navy's announcement that the USS Montgomery (LCS-8), and the Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo ship USNS Cesar Chavez (T-AKE-14) are also currently operating in the region. As a Surface Action Group (SAG), these ships recently conducted presence operations in international waters and airspace in the South China Sea.

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The views expressed by this service are solely its own and do not reflect the official policy or position of the United States Army, Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or United States government.