Japanese, U.S. Leaders Wish Farewell to USS Ronald Reagan
SAN DIEGO - Several Japanese and U.S. Navy distinguished visitors visited the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) for an all-hands call and ship tour, Aug. 24.
Among the visitors were Hiroyasu Izumi, minister plenipotentiary and deputy chief of mission, Embassy of Japan; Rear Adm. Yuri Sekignuchi, defense and naval attaché, Embassy of Japan; Vice Adm. Nora Tyson, commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet; Vice Adm. Michael Shoemaker, commander, Naval Air Forces; Rear Adm. Robert Girrier, deputy commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet; and Michael Reagan, son of President Ronald Reagan and president of the Reagan Legacy Foundation.
More than 1,000 Sailors joined Capt. Chris Bolt, Reagan’s commanding officer, and the distinguished visitors on the ship’s flight deck for an all-hands call. Bolt addressed the crew concerning Reagan’s new role as the U.S. Navy’s only forward deployed aircraft carrier.
"This ship demonstrates the U.S.’s commitment to global stability in the Western Pacific,” said Bolt. “We are happy to be able to work hand-in-hand with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and work as a team."
Izumi and Bolt spoke with the crew about the longstanding relationship the U.S. Navy has had, and will continue to foster, with Japan. Izumi and dignitaries were also given a tour of Ronald Reagan.
“Today, a United States aircraft carrier in Japanese waters is a symbol of peace and friendship,” said Izumi. “Reagan aided Japan during the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. That is what the USS Ronald Reagan represents to Japan and to the U.S.-Japan alliance.”
Ronald Reagan recently completed a hull swap with the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) while moored at Naval Base Coronado in San Diego. Many former George Washington Sailors joined the Ronald Reagan team and will transit with the ship back to Yokosuka, Japan.
“Listening to Mr. Izumi speak of how thankful he was for Ronald Reagan’s help after the Japanese earthquake really meant a lot,” said Aviation Electrician’s Mate Airman Chanel Curbeam. “I did not know this ship was a first responder. Returning to Japan on this ship is exciting because I am working on continuing the legacy this ship has made.”