CALLAO, Peru (NNS) -- USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) crew members arrived in Callao, Peru, July 9, for a four-day visit. This is the third port visit during the ship's transit to its new homeport in San Diego.
The Navy's newest nuclear-powered aircraft carrier is deployed along with six other carrier strike groups as part of Summer Pulse 04, the Navy's first exercise of its new operational construct, the Fleet Response Plan (FRP).
"This is icing on the cake following successful UNITAS and SIFOREX (Silent Forces) exercises with the Peruvian Navy," said Commanding Officer Capt. James A. Symonds. "The opportunity for us to interact with Peru professionally is a pleasure; however, the chance to explore the culture is something we can't miss."
With visits to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, and Valparaiso, Chile, successfully completed, senior staff members are confident the trip to Peru will be another great accomplishment.
"Our Sailors have been such good ambassadors in our other ports that we are confident this visit will be another successful four-day opportunity for cultural exchange," said Command Master Chief (SW/AW) Kathy A. Hansen. "I can't say enough about how well this cruise has gone overall. Being able to mold the crew and create great esprit de corps has created a strong, unified team here. I am excited about what we can do."
The ship is on the last leg of its near two-month deployment, which included an historic journey through the Strait of Magellan.
When the ship enters Coronado Bay at the end of the journey, a new chapter in this ship's history will begin. The homecoming in San Diego promises to be a celebration that will rival the events surrounding the ship's commissioning ceremony.
"The entire San Diego community is throwing a grand welcoming celebration for the ship's crew," said Lt. Suzanna Cigna, Reagan public affairs officer. "We are proud to be here and proud to bring the namesake of President Reagan home to California."
Also aboard is the Ronald Reagan Carrier Group staff, led by Rear Adm. Robert T. Moeller, Destroyer Squadron Seven 7, headed by Capt. William P. Hoker, and aircraft from Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11, commanded by Capt. James K. Greene.
The squadrons making the transit include the "Tophatters" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 14 flying the F/A-18E, and VFA-41, the "Black Aces", and their F/A-18F aircraft. Both squadrons operate the Super Hornet aircraft and are based at Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif. Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 117 "Wallbangers," flying the E-2C Hawkeye 2000, from Point Magu, Calif.; the "Indians" of Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron (HS) 6 flying the SH-60F Seahawk and Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 30 "Providers", flying the C-2A Greyhound, both based in San Diego, are also embarked.
Summer Pulse '04 is the simultaneous deployment of seven aircraft carrier strike groups (CSGs), demonstrating the ability of the Navy to provide credible combat power across the globe, in five theaters, with other U.S., allied, and coalition military forces. Summer Pulse is the Navy's first deployment under its new Fleet Response Plan (FRP).
For more information about Summer Pulse '04, visit the CFFC Web site at www.cffc.navy.mil/summerpulse04.htm or visit the Summer Pulse '04 Navy NewsStand site at www.news.navy.mil/local/pulse04.
For related news, visit the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn76.