USS Ronald Reagan now underway on patrol amid uncertainty in Asia


YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan – The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan departed its Yokosuka homeport Tuesday for a scheduled patrol of the Asia-Pacific region, amid concerns about North Korea and questions about how the White House will address China’s claims to the South China Sea.

The roughly 5,000 sailors assigned to the ship and its embarked air wing departed a day later than planned due to an unspecified maintenance issue that required repair.

An aircraft carrier’s scheduled deployment, which typically includes accompanying destroyers or cruisers and an unannounced submarine presence, typically lasts six to eight months.

Although Navy officials haven’t announced port visits or operations, typical deployments take the Ronald Reagan to allied and partner countries in the Western Pacific and Indian oceans.

Security analysts will watch for any movements toward the Korean peninsula, where the San Diego-based USS Carl Vinson has kept watch amid a series of North Korean missile launches and speculation that the communist state could soon conduct a nuclear test.