YOKOSUKA, Japan - The U.S. Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) returned to Yokosuka, Oct. 16, following a five-month deployment across 5th and 7th Fleet.
During Ronald Reagan’s deployment, the embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 flew more than 14,820 flight hours, and the ship transited nearly 43,000 nautical miles. The strike group departed Yokosuka, May 19 and conducted passing exercises with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) and the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) in May and June. The ship transited through the Strait of Malacca on June 18 and participated in joint, simultaneous multi-domain operations with the Indian Navy and Air Force from June 23-24. This marked the first naval integration event off the West Coast of India since MALABAR 2020.
The carrier strike group executed integrated at-sea operations alongside the United Kingdom’s HMS Queen Elizabeth (R 08) Strike Group, as well as the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group (IWOARG) and the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, in the Gulf of Aden, July 12. The strike group also participated in several interoperability and bilateral events, to include operations with the French frigate FS Languedoc (D 653), Pakistan Navy frigate PNS Alamgir (F 260) and German Navy frigate FGS Bayern (F 217).
While deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations, Ronald Reagan supported naval operations while CVW 5 provided airpower to protect U.S. and coalition forces as they conducted drawdown operations from Afghanistan. Operating as Task Force 50 in 5th Fleet, personnel from the strike group supported Task Force 58 in September with facilitating the safe transit of more than 7,000 U.S. citizens and evacuees traveling from Afghanistan during Operation Allies Refuge. The task force included more than 1,400 U.S. and coalition personnel from various units operating in the region. U.S. service members worked to provide travelers with meals, short-term lodging, and medical services around the clock before departing.
“This year’s deployment was historic and unprecedented for the U.S. Navy's only forward-deployed aircraft carrier,” said Capt. Fred Goldhammer, Ronald Reagan’s commanding officer. “Our crew’s unrelenting dedication, seamless teamwork, and unmatched ability to overcome challenges enabled Ronald Reagan's ability to provide support for Operations Freedom’s Sentinel and Allies Refuge during the final days of the war in Afghanistan. I am extremely proud of the crew's resilience and success throughout this year. The brave men and women of ‘Warship 76’ answered the call whenever and wherever they were needed; demonstrating the extreme versatility and unmatched capability of our forward-deployed naval forces.”
The strike group returned to U.S. 7th Fleet on Sept. 17 from the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.
Prior to returning home in October, the strike group and USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) carrier strike group joined with United Kingdom’s carrier strike group led by HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) CSG 21 and JMSDF ships led by Hyuga-class helicopter destroyer JS Ise (DDH 182) for multiple carrier operations in the Philippine Sea; bringing together 17 ships from six nations and more than 15,000 Sailors. The purpose of the integration was to demonstrate capabilities in multi-domain operations, U.S. dedication to regional stability, and highlight the U.S. Navy’s enduring power-projection capability.
On the 2021 deployment, the carrier strike group included the Navy's forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, and embarked staffs of Task Force 70 and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG 67), and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey (DDG 97).
Sailors manned the rails in dress white uniforms as the ship arrived pierside, following more than 153 COVID-free-days at sea since departing Yokosuka in May.
“The team working together to safely navigate the ship through the Strait of Malacca twice, the San Bernardino Strait, the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea, and the South China Sea truly demonstrates the importance of freedom of the seas and keeping the sea lines of communication open. This is especially vital in the Indo-Pacific region," said Cmdr. Nathan Moore, Ronald Reagan's navigator. “Pulling pierside back in Yokosuka and being ‘home’ safe after five months straight at sea is something we are all grateful for and quite proud of. We served a critical mission for our country and helped to finish an important chapter of our nation's history.”
While in port, Ronald Reagan will remain in sustainment and ready to immediately redeploy in response to a crisis or other tasking. The crew maintains a high level of training, forward-presence, warfighting proficiency, quick-response posture, and readiness to respond to any regional contingency.
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 is the largest forward-deployed fleet in the world, and with the help of and network of alliances and partners from 35 other maritime-nations, the U.S. Navy has operated in the Indo-Pacific region for more than 70 years, providing credible, ready forces to help preserve peace and prevent conflict.