Two US carrier strike groups are conducting joint operations in the South China Sea today, Tuesday, February 9, the US Navy announced.
The Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group and the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group are conducting “coordinated operations in a highly trafficked area to demonstrate the U.S. Navy’s ability to operate in challenging environments,” USS Theodore Roosevelt Public Affairs reported.
“Training with Carrier Strike Group 11 in the South China Sea is a tremendously valuable opportunity,” said Rear Adm. Doug Verissimo, commander, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 9. “Through operations like this, we ensure that we are tactically proficient to meet the challenge of maintaining peace and we are able to continue to show our partners and allies in the region that we are committed to promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
“Working cooperatively alongside Carrier Strike Group 9 improves our collective tactical skill while ensuring regional stability and security,” said Rear Adm. Jim Kirk, commander, CSG 11. “We are committed to ensuring the lawful use of the sea that all nations enjoy under international law.”
This exercise is “intended to “maintain U.S. readiness and combat-credible forces to reassure allies and partners and preserve peace in the region,” the press release said.
“CSG 9 consists of USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11, the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), Destroyer Squadron 23, and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Russell (DDG 59) and USS John Finn (DDG 113).”
“CSG 11 consists of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17, guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59), the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, USS Sterett (DDG 104), and Destroyer Squadron 9 and CSG 11 staffs. 7th Fleet is the U.S. Navy’s largest forward-deployed fleet and employs 50 to 70 ships and submarines across the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans. 7th Fleet routinely operates and interacts with 35 maritime nations while conducting missions to preserve and protect a free and open Indo-Pacific region.”
The operation indicates that President Joe Biden “shows no sign of backing down from Beijing’s growing maritime assertiveness in the area,” according to defense and diplomacy reporter for the Japan Times, Jesse Johnson.
Indeed, President Biden made a phone call to the USS Nimitz yesterday to cheer up the crew, who were so far from home on the day of the Super Bowl.
Biden delivered a message to the entire crew, and spoke directly to several Sailors, according to CSG-11 Public Affairs.
“The Sailors and Marines of the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group continue to answer the nation’s call as we conduct maritime security operations in the South China Sea … It was a pleasure to hear from the Commander in Chief on Super Bowl Sunday, far from home,” said Rear Admiral Jim Kirk, commander, who also spoke with the president.
The maneuvers come just 5 days after the US Navy’s guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain made a transit of the Taiwan Strait, February 4.
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