USS RONALD REAGAN, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), flagship of Carrier Strike Group (CCSG) 7, along with USS Vicksburg (CG 69) and USS McCampbell (DDG 85), took part in a passing exercise (PASSEX) with the French navy April 27.
French ships participating in the PASSEX were the aircraft carrier FS Charles de Gaulle (R-91), the French navy's first nuclear-powered surface vessel and flagship of the French navy, and FS Cassard (D-614), the lead ship in the Cassard class of French anti-air frigates.
The goal of the exercise was for the Reagan and Vicksburg warfare commanders to practice working together with their French navy counterparts. Exercises included drills in communications, air defense and surface warfare tactics. Aircraft from the
French aircraft carrier also made "touch-and-go" landings aboard Reagan during the exercise.
For Reagan, this was the ship's second multinational exercise involving surface combatants during the current deployment. Reagan conducted a PASSEX in the Indian Ocean with ships from the Indian navy in late February.
According to Rear Adm. Michael H. Miller, commander, Carrier Strike Group 7, who embarked aboard the French aircraft carrier for the event, the PASSEX demonstrated the U.S. Navy's ability to work together with foreign naval forces on complex tasks, on a very large scale, on very short notice.
"The U.S. Navy shares much in common with the French navy, not the least of which is their production of a nuclear aircraft carrier, which operates in a very similar fashion to Reagan. We also share a high degree of interoperability - the result of hard work over many years - developing and testing standard operating procedures, conducting exercises and joint training," said Miller.
"These efforts represent an investment made by our two nations to ensure that if called upon, we can work together to deal with common concerns - everything from Operation Enduring Freedom to handling natural disasters or threats to the sea lanes," said Miller.
Reagan Commanding Officer Capt. Terry B. Kraft, who also traveled to the French aircraft carrier, said the exercise was an excellent opportunity for Reagan Sailors to learn how foreign navies operate during joint operations.
"Operating for a short time with the Charles de Gaulle Battle Group has been a highlight for us. We tested the full range of interoperability, from communications to actual air operations on our deck. I was impressed with how easily our navies work together," said Kraft.
Reagan is currently deployed in the Persian Gulf as part of a routine rotation of U.S. maritime forces in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations conducting Maritime Security Operations (MSO) in the region.
MSO set the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment as well as complement the counter-terrorism and security efforts of regional nations. MSO deny international terrorists use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material.
Commissioned in 2003, Reagan is the Navy's newest Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and departed San Diego Jan. 4 on her maiden deployment.
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