The USS Theodore Roosevelt underway. Navy photo

The San Diego-based USS Theodore Roosevelt will join two other nuclear-powered aircraft carriers in a rare strike-force exercise in the Sea of Japan beginning Saturday.

The exercise will involve three of the Navy’s 11 carriers, and concentrate more aircraft carriers than the combined fleets of China and Russia.

Units assigned to the strike force will conduct coordinated operations in international waters off the Korean peninsula from Saturday through Tuesday in order to demonstrate the Navy’s unique capability to operate multiple carrier groups as a coordinated force.

“It is a rare opportunity to train with two aircraft carriers together, and even rarer to be able to train with three,” said Adm. Scott Swift, U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander. “Multiple carrier strike force operations are very complex, and this exercise in the Western Pacific is a strong testament to the U.S. Pacific Fleet’s unique ability and ironclad commitment to the continued security and stability of the region.”

The Roosevelt will join the Bremerton-based USS Nimitz and forward-deployed USS Ronald Reagan in the exercise, which comes as President Trump is traveling in Asia.

While at sea, the strike force plans to conduct air defense drills, sea surveillance, replenishment at sea, defensive air combat training, close-in coordinated maneuvers and other training. This is the first time that three carrier strike groups have operated together in the Western Pacific since exercises Valiant Shield 2006 and 2007 off the coast of Guam.

The Navy noted that for more than 70 years, the U.S. Pacific Fleet has been a persistent and stabilizing presence conducting operations throughout the region.

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Chris Jennewein

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