USS RONALD REAGAN, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) departed San Diego Jan. 11 for routine carrier operations in the local area and to drop off two Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 30 C-2A Greyhound aircraft in Hawaii to help support Operation Unified Assistance.
Operation Unified Assistance is the worldwide humanitarian effort to help Southern Asia recover from the devastating tsunamis that paralyzed the region Dec. 26.
“CODs (carrier onboard delivery aircraft) don’t have the range or fuel to get from California to Hawaii on their own,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jonathan Sweeten, Reagan assistant strike operations officer. “So we’ll be their floating platform to Hawaii, and from there, they’ll be able to reach their destination.”
“I quickly jumped at the chance to do this,” said Capt. James Symonds, commanding officer. “I was immediately excited that the crew would get to feel like they were part of something bigger than the ship. It’s very important for this young crew and young ship to understand that we could be called anytime to do anything.”
Sailors aboard share the captain’s feelings and want to help out in any way they can.
“I think it’s wonderful that we’re able to take part in the relief over there,” said Aviation Electronics Technician 1st Class (SW/AW) Sean Jones of Reagan's training department. “Asia got hit pretty hard, and they need all the help they can get.”
Delivering the CODs was an extra task given to Reagan, which was scheduled to be underway during this time to test the ship’s self-defense system with live drones off San Clemente Island. The Nuclear Power Mobile Training Team was also scheduled to come aboard to train with the reactor department.
A few days were added to the underway period in order to help transport the CODs, but some Sailors didn’t seem to mind.
“I’m not worried about staying out a few extra days,” said Aviation Ordnanceman 3rd Class (AW) Reid Ferrero, Weapons Department. “If I can’t see my wife for a couple more days, it’s nothing compared to the people that have lost their loved ones in the tsunami.”
After arriving in Hawaii, the ship will stay for a four-day port visit. On its way home, Reagan will run drills and train on live .50-caliber shoots; and Reactor Department will undergo the annual Operational Reactor Safeguards Exam.
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