September 26, 2020 – The Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group and the America Expeditionary Strike Group joined forces to conduct Expeditionary Strike Force operations in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific, Sept. 25.
The U.S. Navy-Marine Corps team are conducting a multitude of integrated, high-end warfighting exercises while forward-deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.
“Expeditionary Strike Force operations provide us an opportunity to build a team of teams to execute and enhance command and control of integrated forces in a complex maritime environment,” said Rear Adm. Fred Kacher, commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 7. “Combining Navy and Marine Corps capabilities of the America Expeditionary Strike Group with the air power of this superbly led carrier strike group creates a more lethal and flexible force than either of our strike groups could ever be alone.”
While operating a number of ships and aircraft together, the “blue-green team” will reinforce battle readiness and interoperability through a series of operations. The Expeditionary Strike Force will conduct evolutions including aviation integration through tactical air control and deck landing qualifications, live-fire training in the Mariana Islands Range Complex, naval surface fire support from cruisers USS Shiloh (CG 67) and USS Antietam (CG 54), and long range tactical recovery of personnel and aircraft missions. These operations allow our Navy and Marine Corps forces to increase their ability to respond to threats, deter hostilities and maintain stability in the Indo-Pacific.
“Versatility is the foundation of the forward-deployed naval forces combat credibility, and the Ronald Reagan Strike Group is excited for this opportunity to hone our skills alongside the America Expeditionary Strike Group in this complex exercise,” said Rear Adm. George Wikoff, commander, Carrier Strike Group 5. “Integrated naval operations in the Western Pacific demonstrates U.S. commitment to our regional allies and partners, support for international stability and security, and the ability to rapidly respond to any challenge.”
USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) is the flagship of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 5, which includes Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 and guided-missile cruisers USS Shiloh (CG 67) and USS Antietam (CG 54).
USS America (LHA 6) is the flagship of the America Expeditionary Strike Group, which includes Commander, Amphibious Squadron 11, dock landing ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18), landing support dock ship USS Germantown (LSD 42), and the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU).
The 31st MEU is the only permanently forward-deployed MEU in the world and provides a flexible and lethal crisis response force, ready to perform a wide range of military operations. The selective and timely commitment of the U.S. Marines has, on many occasions, served to comfort those in need or restore peace and stability where necessary.
“The Navy and Marine Corps has long maintained forward-postured forces afloat and ashore. This forward posture maintains alliances, enforces international norms, and deters aggression,” said Col. Michael Nakonieczny, commanding officer of the 31st MEU. “The integration of the Expeditionary Strike Group with the Carrier Strike Group is an example of how the Navy and Marine Corps team can enable the naval force to partner, persist, and operate forward as a naval expeditionary force-in readiness.”
The Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group and America Expeditionary Strike Group with the embarked 31st MEU are forward-deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific. U.S. 7th Fleet is the largest numbered fleet in the world, and with the help of 35 other maritime-nation allies and partners, the U.S. Navy has operated in the Indo-Pacific region for more than 70 years, providing credible, ready forces to help preserve peace and prevent conflict.