USS RONALD REAGAN, At Sea (NNS) -- Sailors assigned to USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), the staff of Commander, Carrier Strike Group (CCSG) 7 and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 14 departed San Diego April 11 to participate in Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) 08-5.
JTFEX 08-5 is scheduled to take place April 11-18 off the coast of Southern California, and is designed to be a realistic exercise in real-world operations and the operational challenges faced by U.S. forces in cooperation with coalition militaries.
The exercise is the final step in preparing the Ronald Reagan Strike Group for its upcoming deployment and will test the group's ability to plan and execute the Navy's Maritime Strategy alongside other U.S. and coalition forces in complex, hostile warfighting environments.
"JTFEX is a graduate-level exercise to ensure Ronald Reagan and Carrier Air Wing 14 will be ready to take the fight to our enemies when called upon," said Capt. Terry Kraft, Ronald Reagan's commanding officer.
"JTFEX will help to get us into the joint operations mode and simulate the type of real-world scenarios we may face while conducting military operations with our allies," added Kraft.
Rear Adm. James P. "Phil" Wisecup, commander, Carrier Strike Group 7, said that JTFEX 08-5 demonstrates the capabilities of the carrier strike group under the Maritime Strategy and how the Ronald Reagan Strike Group can play an important role in protecting the interests of the United States.
"JTFEX is the last check in the box before we deploy, and a great opportunity for us to prepare ourselves to go over the horizon," said Wisecup. "Our job is to protect the freedom of the seas, deter our adversaries, and, if deterrence fails, take action in support of American interests," said Wisecup.
The Ronald Reagan Strike Group is comprised of CCSG 7, CVW-14, Destroyer Squadron 7, the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), the guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62), the guided-missile destroyers USS Decatur (DDG 73), USS Gridley (DDG 101), USS Howard (DDG 83) and the guided missile frigate USS Thach (FFG 43).
The squadrons of CVW-14 include the "Redcocks" of VFA-22, "Fist of the Fleet" of VFA-25, "Stingers" of VFA-113, "Eagles" of VFA-115, "Black Eagles" of Airborne Early Warning Squadron 113, "Cougars" of Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 139, "Providers" of Carrier Logistics Support 30 and the "Black Knights" of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 4.
Ronald Reagan was commissioned in July 2003, making it the ninth and newest Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. The ship is named after the 40th U.S. President, and carries the motto of "Peace through Strength," a recurrent theme during the Reagan presidency.
For more news from USS Ronald Reagan, visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn76/.