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US Navy posts photos of carriers Reagan and Nimitz in South China Sea

The USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) and USS Nimitz (CVN 68) Carrier Strike Groups (CSGs) steam in formation. The Nimitz and Ronald Reagan CSGs are conducting dual-carrier operations as the Nimitz Carrier Strike Force. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jason Tarleton)
July 17, 2020

On Thursday, the U.S. Navy tweeted photos of the USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Groups transitting the South China Sea, a sea region over which China has increasingly asserted territorial claims.

#USSNimitz, #USSRonaldReagan Carrier Strike Groups team up, continue #USNavy dual carrier exercises in South China Sea: https://t.co/3RJhxUwklx #CVN68 #CVN76 @US7thFleet #FreeandOpenIndoPacific,” the U.S. Pacific Fleet tweeted.

#USSNimitz and #USSRonaldReagan conduct dual-carrier ops in the South China Sea,” Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Mike Gilday tweeted, sharing the Pacific Fleet’s post. “Our forces operate wherever international law allows to reinforce our commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific, a rules-based international order, and to our allies and partners in the region.”

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The Navy’s actions come amid Chinese assertions of territorial claims around the South China Sea.

The Navy indicated in a press release that “the presence of two carriers in the South China Sea is not in response to any specific political or world events, but is part of regular integration to exercise and develop tactical interoperability.”

The first Navy photo was originally taken on July 6. The Navy shared additional photos of its operations in the South China Sea in recent days.

Sailors signal to an MH-60R Sea Hawk, attached to the Saberhawks of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 77, after it lands on the flight deck of the Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) July 16, 2020. ((U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Erica Bechard)

“For more than 75 years, the U.S. Navy has been operating multiple carrier strike force operations in the region,” the Navy statement continued.

Sailors signal to an MH-60R Sea Hawk, attached to the Saberhawks of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 77, after it lands on the flight deck of the Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) July 16, 2020. ((U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Erica Bechard)

The Navy has also shared photos of warships attached to the carrier strike groups during its operations in the South China Sea.

The USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114) attached to the U.S. 7th Fleet, which includes the USS Ronald Reagan, was photographed operating around the disputed Spratly Islands, where the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has staked territorial claims in recent months.

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114) steams near the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. Ralph Johnson is deployed conducting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts for a free and open Indo-Pacific. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Anthony Collier)

The Navy also shared photos of the USS Princeton (CG 59), a Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser attached to Carrier Strike Group 11, which includes the USS Nimitz.

The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) and guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59) transit the Balabac Strait, July 15, 2020. Nimitz, the flagship of Carrier Strike Group 11, is deployed conducting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Elliot Schaudt/Released)

 

The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59) steams through the night in the South China Sea. Princeton is part of the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group and is deployed conducting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Logan C. Kellums/RELEASED)