YOKOSUKA, Japan -– Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15 completed its 2022 deployment aboard USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) after the strike group returned to Yokosuka, Japan, Dec. 16.
DESRON 15 is comprised of one staff with two vital and distinct missions. First, DESRON 15 serves as Commander, Task Force (CTF) 71, 7th Fleet’s Theater Surface Warfare Commander.
DESRON 15 also provides surface warfare support to Ronald Reagan’s Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 5, directing maritime strike operations and managing the anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare operations of the forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers and Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers attached to CSG 5.
“I’ve been deployed to the Western Pacific many times over the last 20 years and the single biggest change I’ve noticed on this patrol has been the increased integration of Allies and partners,” said Capt. Justin Harts, DESRON 15 deputy commodore and Ronald Reagan CSG sea combat commander. “Western Pacific nations seem more eager than ever to operate as a combined force with the United States. I think they realize the value these operations bring to regional stability and want to do their part. It’s been great watching our Sailors so seamlessly integrate with partner navies for a common goal.”
In addition to foreign staff embarkations, ships from Australia, Canada, India, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, and the U.K. all joined the Ronald Regan CSG during routine security and stability operations in the Western Pacific since departing from Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY) on May 20.
DESRON 15 leadership have worked to balance the responsibilities of 7th Fleet’s principal surface combatant force with support to the Navy’s only forward-deployed carrier strike group, rotating personnel regularly between the Theater Surface Warfare Commander team ashore and the embarked Sea Combat Commander team underway on Ronald Reagan.
DESRON 15 embarked staff provided their expertise in the management and execution of the CSG’s participation in numerous exercises throughout the Indo-Pacific region to include several trilateral events with Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force and Republic of Korea Navy, Malabar 2022, and Keen Sword 2023.
“I am very proud of the underway team and their performance as Sea Combat Commander,” said Capt. Walter Mainor, commander, CTF 71/DESRON 15. “They promoted and provided theater security and safety, preserved and maintained free commerce in the sea lanes and have been ambassadors of goodwill. For each mission they exceeded expectations and performed brilliantly. As always, the love and support from families back home give the additional strength needed to maintain the highest level of performance and readiness.”
CTF 71/ DESRON 15 is the Navy’s largest DESRON and U.S. 7th Fleet’s principal Surface Combatant Force. CTF 71/DESRON 15’s mission is to plan, direct, monitor, and assess all theater surface warfare operations in the Western Pacific and provide command oversight for the nine forward deployed U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers: USS Barry (DDG 52), USS Benfold (DDG 65), USS Milius (DDG 69), USS Higgins (DDG 76), USS Howard (DDG 83), USS Shoup (DDG 86), USS Dewey (DDG 105), USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114), and USS Rafael Peralta (DDG 115).