Aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) and guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG-54) departed Japan on Friday for an underway period ahead of the forward-deployed U.S. carrier strike group’s spring patrol, according to ship spotters.
The aircraft carrier completed its annual maintenance period earlier this month and is now underway for a short shake-down period before it begins the patrol with Carrier Air Wing 5 embarked, a Navy official confirmed to USNI News.
Reagan wrapped up a six-month patrol in December that included presence missions and port visits around the Korean peninsula and participation in the Valiant Shield 2022 exercise.
Earlier this week, USNI News reported that the air wing would hold night flight training at airfields on Iwo Jima through May 19th.
シートライアルで出港した空母「ロナルド・レーガン (USS Ronald Reagan, CVN-76) 」です。 pic.twitter.com/WmuCcm4OPn
— MICHIYA MURATA (@MICHIYAM) May 12, 2023
In addition to Reagan, the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group and the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group are underway in the Philippine Sea.
Unlike other carriers in the U.S. fleet, Yokosuka-based Reagan is technically always deployed as part of the Forward Deployed Naval Force Japan and is typically underway for two short annual patrols with a maintenance period in between.
Reagan has been the FDNF-J carrier since 2015, when the carrier relieved USS George Washington (CVN-73) ahead of Washington’s mid-life refueling and overhaul at HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia that began in 2017.
Washington is expected to leave Newport News and return to the fleet later this month, almost 20 months late. The carrier is slated to return to Japan by 2025, reported newswire Nikkei.
The move was part of a three-carrier swap that repositioned USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) in San Diego, Calif.