International force in Philippine Sea
The international forced centered on two U.S. carriers maneuvering in the Philippine Sea. Navy photo

The San Diego-based USS Carl Vinson joined the forward-deployed USS Ronald Reagan and carriers from the United Kingdom and Japan in a show of allied force in the Philippine Sea earlier this month, the Navy reported on Saturday.

The exercise, which took place on Oct. 3, included the HMS Queen Elizabeth and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force helicopter carrier JS Ise and brought together 15,000 sailors from six nations.

Unspoken was the message that democratic countries in the Pacific can work together against any threat from the autocratic and communist regime in China, which recently flew waves of jets near Taiwan to intimidate that country.

In addition to the four carriers, the group included the guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans, two destroyers from Japan, two destroyers and two frigates from the United Kingdom, and a frigate each from the Royal Canadian, Royal New Zealand and Dutch navies.

The force conducted flight operations and air defense exercises as well as simulated strikes against maritime targets using F/A-18 Super Hornets from the Ronald Reagan, F-35B Lighting II stealth jets from both the Royal Air Force and U.S. Marines operating from the Queen Elizabeth, and F-35Cs from the Carl Vinson.

“This is Carl Vinson strike group’s fourth exercise with allies and partners since entering 7th Fleet, and we have continued to improve our ability to conduct prompt and sustained operations at sea with a more mobile, agile and flexible force,” said Rear Adm. Dan Martin, commander of Carrier Strike Group 1. “Through alliances and partnerships, we have developed the right operational concepts, plans, proficiencies and capabilities to bolster our maritime advantage.”

Commodore Steve Moorhouse, commander of the British strike group, said “working with our close allies to develop operating procedures and capabilities while concurrently showcasing the agility of land and carrier-based aviation in the Indo-Pacific demonstrates our commitment to the region.”

Rear Adm. Konno Yasushige, commander of Japanese Escort Flotilla 2, said the exercise demonstrated that his country “will work closely with the naval forces of the U.S., Britain, the Netherlands, and Canada, which share the same objectives, to respond to global challenges and defend maritime order based on the rule of law.”

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