Thursday, May 28, 2009

USS Ronald Reagan Deploys

USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) departed San Diego May 28 on a deployment to the 7th and 5th Fleet Areas of Responsibility.

The carrier joins the other ships of its strike group which departed the day prior, including the guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62), and the ships of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7, which include the guided-missile destroyers USS Decatur (DDG 73), USS Howard (DDG 83) and USS Gridley (DDG 101), and the guided missile frigate USS Thach (FFG 43). Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 14 is embarked aboard Ronald Reagan.

"I'm proud of these Sailors, and I'm proud of their families - proud of their commitment, their excellence and their dedicated service," said Rear Adm. Scott Hebner, commander, Carrier Strike Group 7. "They understand the importance of their mission and the challenges ahead of them - they have worked hard, and they are ready."

Friends and family members of Sailors aboard Ronald Reagan bid their Sailors farewell from the pier on Naval Air Station North Island.

"Be safe and strong. We are here to support them. It's a tough job, and we are proud of them," said Pam Ortiz-Martin, a wife of a Sailor aboard Ronald Reagan.

The deployment is the fourth for the San Diego-based Ronald Reagan, which recently received its second Battle "E" award for being the most combat-efficient carrier in the Pacific Fleet. The Ronald Reagan/CVW-14 team also received the Ramage Award for most efficient carrier-air wing team in the entire Navy.

During its last deployment, the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group performed a humanitarian assistance mission, supporting the armed forces of the Philippines delivering more than 519,000 pounds of fresh water, rice and medical supplies to people affected by Typhoon Fengshen. Additionally, CVW-14, staging from Ronald Reagan in the Gulf of Oman, flew more than 1,150 combat sorties in support of coalition troops in Afghanistan, while the ships of DESRON 7 supported maritime security operations in the 5th Fleet Area of Operations.

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 113, the "Cougars" of Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 139, the "Providers" of Carrier Logistics Support 30, and the "Black Knights" of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 4.

Ronald Reagan is the flagship of Carrier Strike Group 7 and the ninth of 10 Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. The ship is named for the 40th president; its motto, "Peace through Strength," was a recurring theme during the Reagan presidency.