In this file photo, an MH-60S Sea Hawk assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 12 flies over USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) during dual aircraft carrier strike group operations earlier this month in the Philippine Sea with the John C. Stennis Strike Group. (U.S. Navy/MC3 Jake Greenberg)

SOUTH CHINA SEA - Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 5, including the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) and USS Shiloh (CG 67); Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers from Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15 and aircraft from Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, is conducting routine operations in the South China Sea.

Prior to their operations in the South China Sea, the ships and aircraft within the strike group have been operating in the Philippine Sea to maintain improve their readiness and develop their cohesion as a strike group.

CSG 5 partnered with the John C. Stennis Strike Group June 18-19, to conduct dual carrier operations, maintaining the interoperability between the ships and the embarked air wings.

“Our forward-deployed ships are operating here to maintain the seas open for all to use,” said Rear Adm. John D. Alexander, commander, Task Force 70 (CTF 70). “The U.S. Navy has flown, sailed and operated throughout the Western Pacific in accordance with international law for over a century, and will continue to do so.”

In recent months, many U.S. Navy ships have conducted similar events in the 7th Fleet area of operations including the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Decatur (DDG 73), USS Momsen (DDG 92) and USS Spruance (DDG 111) as part of 3rd Fleet’s Pacific Surface Action Group.

CSG 5 is the U.S. Navy’s only forward-deployed strike group located in Yokosuka, Japan, and routinely operates throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific.

CVW-5 consists of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 77, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 12, Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 115, Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 141 and Strike Fighter Squadrons (VFA) 102, 27, and 115.