By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Nathan Burke, USS Ronald Reagan Public Affairs
YOKOSUKA, Japan – The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) arrived at Fleet Activities (FLEACT), Yokosuka for the first time as the U.S. Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier, Oct. 1.
Ronald Reagan’s arrival to FLEACT, Yokosuka highlights her role as the fifth U.S. carrier forward deployed to the 7th Fleet area of responsibility following USS George Washington (CVN 73), USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63), USS Independence (CV 62) and USS Midway (CV 41).
“Deploying our most capable units forward enhances the Navy’s ability to contribute to the defense of Japan and meet our commitments under the terms of the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between Japan and the United States of America,” said Rear Adm. John Alexander, commander, Battle Force Seventh Fleet.
Ronald Reagan departed Naval Base North Island in Coronado, Calif., Aug. 3, after completing a hull swap with the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier George Washington. During her transit across the Pacific Ocean, Ronald Reagan completed a blue water certification, replenishments-at-sea, day and night flight operations, and damage control and medical drills.
Ronald Reagan arrived in Yokosuka equipped with the U.S. Navy’s newest technological upgrades including a new local area computer network: The Consolidated Afloat Networking Enterprise Services (CANES).
“Ronald Reagan is 11 years newer than George Washington, which means the [Ronald Reagan] has benefited from 11 years of evolving technology,” said Capt. Christopher Bolt, Ronald Reagan’s commanding officer.
Although Ronald Reagan newly arrived to Yokosuka, the carrier brings about two thirds of the George Washington crew who cross decked to Ronald Reagan during the hull swap.
“The Sailors aboard Ronald Reagan embody the spirit of the ship’s namesake as President Ronald Reagan had a strong personal friendship with Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone,” said Bolt. “In the same way, Ronald Reagan Sailors will continue to strengthen ties between the United States and Japan.”
In 2011, Ronald Reagan served as a refueling station for Japanese coast guard and U.S. military helicopters providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief off the Sendai Coast of Japan during Operation Tomodachi after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.
“The United States values Japan’s contributions to the peace, security and stability of the Indo-Asia-Pacific region and its long-term commitment and hospitality in hosting U.S. forces forward deployed there,” said Alexander. “These forces, along with their counterparts in the Japan Self-Defense Forces, make up the core capabilities needed by the alliance to meet our common strategic objectives.”
Ronald Reagan and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, provide a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interests of the U.S. and its allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.