The Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group is operating in the South China Sea for the first time during its 2022 deployment, July 13. The carrier strike group includes the Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), the embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, and embarked staffs of Task Force 70 and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, as well as the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54) and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Higgins (DDG 76). While in the South China Sea, the strike group is conducting maritime security operations, which include flight operations with fixed and rotary-wing aircraft, maritime strike exercises, and coordinated tactical training between surface and air units. Carrier operations in the South China Sea are part of the U.S. Navy’s routine operations in the Indo-Pacific.
Throughout the 2022 deployment, Ronald Reagan and accompanying units have routinely integrated with ally and partner naval forces to build high-end warfighting readiness through air defense, anti-submarine warfare, maritime strike, and force protection exercises. In early June this included operations with Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy ships for Carrier Strike Group Exercise (CSG) 2022. Later that month in the Philippine Sea, the Sailors of CSG 5 worked with more than 200 aircraft and an estimated 13,000 personnel from the U.S. Navy, Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, and Space Force during the Valiant Shield exercise, a U.S.-only, biennial field training exercise (FTX) focused on integration of joint training in a multi-domain environment.
“Our presence in the South China Sea demonstrates America’s commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” said Capt. Fred Goldhammer, the commanding officer of USS Ronald Reagan. “Every Sailor onboard contributes to this important and enduring mission as we operate in this region, in accordance with international law to ensure that all nations can do the same.”
“Our strike group works consistently to stay capable and ready and we continue that focus during operations in the South China Sea to demonstrate our commitment to the region,” said Rear Adm. Michael Donnelly, commander, Task Force 70/Carrier Strike Group 5. “Building on the lessons and successes of exercises like Valiant Shield 2022, and our continuous opportunities to train and operate alongside allies and partners, we provide assured capability to uphold the rules-based international order in this body of water and anywhere else we will sail, fly, and operate.”
The strike group finished the month of June with a port visit to Guam, where Sailors were able to conduct several community relations events and enjoy recreation and tours across the island, marking the strike group’s first port visit since 2020. 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 numbered fleet in the world and, with the help of 35 other maritime-nation allies and partners, 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.