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Ronald Reagan, Stennis carrier strike groups train together in Philippine Sea

Ships with the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group and John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group transit the Philippine Sea during dual carrier operations, Nov. 16, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kaila V. Peters/Released)

A pair of American aircraft carriers have been in the Philippine Sea honing their ability to fight as one massive sea force.

Strike groups from the Yokosuka-based USS Ronald Reagan and the Washington-based USS John C. Stennis were conducting “high-end dual carrier operations,” the Navy said in a statement this week.

“The increased presence of two carrier strike groups in the region highlights the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” 7th Fleet commander Vice Adm. Phil Sawyer said in the statement.

The carriers brought 10 ships, about 150 aircraft and 12,600 personnel to maneuver and execute anti-submarine, surface and air warfare operations in the international waters, according to the statement.

“It shows our forces at their best, operating confidently at sea, and demonstrates that the U.S. Navy will fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows,” Sawyer said.

Before arriving in the Philippine Sea, the Stennis was involved in dual-carrier operations with the USS Carl Vinson off the coast of Hawaii.

A dual-carrier operations typically involve a strike group from the U.S. West Coast joining a forward-deployed strike group in Japan, the Navy statement said. Similar exercises have been conducted in recent years in the South China Sea, Philippine Sea, Korean Peninsula, East China Sea, Sea of Japan and Western Pacific.

Last year, the Navy conducted a rare tri-carrier exercise off the Korean Peninsula involving the Ronald Reagan, USS Theodore Roosevelt and USS Nimitz.

“As it has for decades, the U.S. Navy will continue to provide security in ways that promote regional stability and prosperity,” Sawyer said in the statement.


© 2018 the Stars and Stripes

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