In a bold move, the US moved three aircraft carriers and their accompanying strike groups to the Western Pacific, positioning them to control the South China Sea.
On Sunday, the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) and USS Nimitz (CVN 68) strike groups commenced dual carrier flight operations in the Philippine Sea. While at sea, the strike groups will support air defense drills, sea surveillance, replenishments at sea, defensive air combat training, long-range strikes, coordinated maneuvers, and other exercises.
“This is a great opportunity for us to train together in a complex scenario,” said Rear Adm. Doug Verissimo, commander of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 9. “By working together in this environment, we’re improving our tactical skills and readiness in the face of an increasingly pressurized region and COVID-19.”
All three aircraft carriers were hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, which left the US with no aircraft carriers in the western Pacific region for more than two months.
Carrier Strike Group 11 consists of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68), guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59) and guided-missile destroyers of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 9, which includes USS Sterett (DDG 104), USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114) and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17.