HMAS Anzac took on the challenging role of integrating into the USS Ronald Reagan carrier strike group during a regional presence deployment.
The activity took place in the South China Sea, and involved coordinated maneuvers and a replenishment at sea with USNS Rappahannock.
Ronald Reagan is the flagship of the US Navy’s only forward deployed carrier strike group, and is charged with supporting peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific.
Before Anzac parted with the strike group, a selection of the ship’s company had the opportunity visit the US Navy ship.
They observed flight deck operations and the inner workings of the super carrier, which is home to about 5000 personnel and more than 60 aircraft.
A group of US Navy personnel were also cross-decked to Anzac to experience life on board an Australian warship.
Lieutenant Matthew Bruce, a deputy weapons electrical engineering officer from Anzac, said the visit to Ronald Reagan was a deployment highlight.
“The Ronald Reagan was enormous,” he said.
“We were flown over in one of the US MH-60S Seahawk helicopters, which was a new experience for me.
“As we approached, it was hard to comprehend the sheer size of the ship until we were flying onto the flight deck, which was covered in F/A-18 Super Hornets, Hawkeye airborne early warning aircraft and more Seahawks.”
Lieutenant Bruce said the US operated like a well-oiled machine.
“Each individual knew what their role was and stuck to it and, similar to the RAN, there was a strong push for aviation safety on the flightline,” he said.
“The people were very friendly and happy to have a chat about their ship. They were ecstatic to have us on board and show us the capability of their aviation fleet and the Ronald Reagan.”
Able Seaman Combat Systems Operator Lucas Crimmins had an enjoyable time hosting the US personnel on board Anzac.
“I showed one of the Ronald Regan sailors what life on board a RAN frigate is like with a tour of the ship, lunch and meeting a number of our officers and sailors,” Able Seaman Crimmins said.
His counterpart was impressed with the quality of Anzac’s food and the two sailors discussed the similarities and differences between their navies.
“After showing him the berthing situation on board he told me he sleeps in a mess of 150 sailors,” Able Seaman Crimmins said.
“I thought the whole experience was great. We traded hats and made friends and I made sure to send him off with a jar of Vegemite and a tin of Milo.”