U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 3rd Class Aaron Burden (RELEASED)
The Navy’s newest aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan
), along with embarked Commander, Carrier Strike Group (CCSG) 7 and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 14 arrived in the U.S. 5th Fleet Area of Operations Feb. 18 as part of a routine rotation of U.S. maritime forces.
While in the region, Reagan will support Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, as well as conduct Maritime Security Operations (MSO). More than 6,000 Sailors are currently assigned to the Reagan Carrier Strike Group.
“The Ronald Reagan Strike Group
is ready on arrival,” said Rear Adm. Michael H. Miller, commander, Carrier Strike Group 7.
“Our past nine months of training have been in preparation to support our troops on the ground in Iraq and carry out Maritime Security Operations. It is an honor to serve with them and to once again prove President Reagan’s motto 'Peace through Strength' really works. With the speed, agility and persistence of the modern carrier strike group, we intend to make a difference in helping to set the conditions for security and stability,” said Miller.
MSO help preserve the free and secure use of the world’s oceans by legitimate mariners and prevent terrorists from attempting to use the maritime environment as a venue for attack or as a medium to transport personnel, weapons or other material that could support their efforts.
According to Reagan’s Commanding Officer, Capt. Terry B. Kraft, the ship was made ready for the Western Pacific deployment through the hard work and dedication of crew.
“We have spent months of training preparing us for the types of real-world operations we are now conducting,” said Kraft. “I know this particular crew and air wing are ready to carry out any mission that will be asked of us during this deployment. This theater is where the rubber meets the road.”
The Ronald Reagan Strike
Group is comprised of CVW-14, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7, the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Reagan, the guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57), the guided-missile destroyers USS McCampbell (DDG 85) and USS Decatur (DDG 73), the fast-combat support ship USS Rainer (T-AOE 7), and Explosives Ordnance Disposal Unit 11, Det. 15.
The squadrons of CVW-14 include the “Redcocks” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 22, the “Fist of the Fleet” of VFA-25, the “Stingers” of VFA-113, the “Eagles” of VFA-115, the “Black Eagles” of Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 113, the “Cougars” of Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron (VAQ) 139, the “Providers” of Carrier Logistics Support (VRC) 30, and the “Black Knights” of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 4.
Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet's area of responsibility encompasses about 7.5 million square miles and includes the Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Gulf of Oman and parts of the Indian Ocean
. This expanse, comprised of 25 countries, includes three critical chokepoints at the Suez Canal, the Straits of Hormuz, and the Straits of Bab al Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.