The USS Ronald Reagan in the Pacific on its way to Japan. Navy photo

The U.S. Navy’s only forward-deployed Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, the USS Ronald Reagan, entered the 7th Fleet area of operations last week, the Navy announced.

After 11 years in San Diego, the nuclear-powered carrier left at the end of August for the voyage to its new home port in Japan.

“Ronald Reagan’s forward deployment to 7th Fleet demonstrates the U.S. commitment to the region and our allies,” said Rear Adm. John Alexander, commander, Battle Force 7th Fleet. “It reiterates the importance of the U.S. Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force interoperability, and ensures we have the most capable platform forward when it matters, where it matters.”

The 7th Fleet area of operations includes 36 maritime countries and the world’s five largest foreign armed forces — the People’s Republic of China, Russia, India, North Korea and the Republic of Korea. Five of the seven U.S. Mutual Defense Treaties are with countries in the area: Republic of the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Japan and Thailand.

The Reagan and its air wing provide a combat-ready force to protect and defend the U.S. and its allies in the region.

“It’s an important area for us to protect,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 2nd Class Albert Mendez. “Being forward deployed naval forces we’re first responders, so we have to be ready at all times.”

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.