Ronald Reagan CSG enters South China Sea, upholds freedom of seas, commitment to allies, partners

14 June 2021

From Task Force 70 Public Affairs

South China Sea carrier operations are part of the U.S. Navy’s routine presence in the region.
210614-N-WS494-1064 SOUTH CHINA SEA (June 14, 2021) An EA-18G Growler attached to the Shadowhawks of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 141 launches from the flight deck of the U.S. Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). Ronald Reagan, the flagship of Carrier Strike Group 5, provides a combat-ready force that protects and defends the United States, as well as the collective maritime interests of its allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Quinton Lee)
An EA-18G Growler attached to Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 141 launches from USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), June 14. (U.S. Navy/MC1 Devin M. Langer)
210614-N-WS494-1064 SOUTH CHINA SEA (June 14, 2021) An EA-18G Growler attached to the Shadowhawks of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 141 launches from the flight deck of the U.S. Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). Ronald Reagan, the flagship of Carrier Strike Group 5, provides a combat-ready force that protects and defends the United States, as well as the collective maritime interests of its allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Quinton Lee)
210614-N-WS494-1064
An EA-18G Growler attached to Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 141 launches from USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), June 14. (U.S. Navy/MC1 Devin M. Langer)
Photo By: Petty Officer 3rd Class Quinton Lee
VIRIN: 210614-N-WS494-1065

SOUTH CHINA SEA (June 14, 2021) - The Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group is operating in the South China Sea for the first time during its 2021 deployment.

While in the South China Sea, the strike group is conducting maritime security operations, which include flight operations with fixed and rotary wing aircraft, maritime strike exercises, and coordinated tactical training between surface and air units. Carrier operations in the South China Sea are part of the U.S. Navy’s routine presence in the Indo-Pacific.

The carrier strike group includes the Navy's forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, and embarked staffs of Task Force 70 and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG 67), and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey (DDG 97).

"The South China Sea is pivotal to the free flow of commerce that fuels the economies of those nations committed to international law and rules based order,” said Rear Adm. Will Pennington, commander, Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group. “It is both a privilege and a pleasure to work alongside our allies, partners, and joint service teammates to provide full spectrum support to key maritime commons and ensure all nations continue to benefit from a free and open Indo-Pacific region."

Most recently, the guided missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54) operated with Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Anzac-class frigate HMAS Ballarat (FFH 155) in the South China Sea, June 6 - 11. Wilbur and Ballarat demonstrated the Navy’s commitment to work with like-minded allies and partners to preserve international order in the South China Sea.

“In my 23 years in the Navy I’ve had the pleasure of working with the allied and partner forces from around the world,” said Senior Chief Operations Specialist Michael Ojeda, Assistant Operations, DESRON 15. “Integrating with other countries to conduct surface and undersea surveillance in support of our strike group operations serves to highlight that our allies reinforce our strategy in the Indo-Pacific region and around the world.”

An F/A-18F Super Hornet attached to the Diamondbacks of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 102 lands on the flight deck.
210614-N-ML137-1116 An F/A-18E Super Hornet attached to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 102 lands on the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) flight deck, June 14. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Samantha Jetzer)
SLIDESHOW | 1 images | 210614-N-ML137-1116 An F/A-18E Super Hornet attached to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 102 lands on the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) flight deck, June 14. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Samantha Jetzer)

The strike group is committed to upholding U.S. security agreements with regional allies and partners, as well as demonstrating the capability of forward-deployed naval forces to quickly respond to any contingency across the region.

Upholding freedom of the seas in the South China Sea is vitally important where nearly a third of global maritime trade, roughly 3.5 trillion dollars, a third of global crude oil, and half of global liquefied natural gas passes through the sea each year.

The Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group is forward-deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific region. U.S. 7th Fleet conducts forward-deployed naval operations in support of U.S. national interests in the Indo-Pacific area of operations. As the U.S. Navy's largest forward-deployed fleet, 7th Fleet interacts with 35 other maritime nations to build partnerships that foster maritime security, promote stability, and prevent conflict.

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