SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) and embarked staffs and squadrons departed from San Diego May 19, for a scheduled Western Pacific deployment, as hundreds of friends and family members gathered pierside, waving banners and shouting farewells.
"This crew is ready and excited. Walking around the mess decks, you can feel the crew's energy. We are ready to go. I could not be more impressed with the performance of this crew. We are ready for any mission that presents itself," said Ronald Reagan Commanding Officer Capt. Kenneth Norton, who assumed command May 2.
The ship is the nation's newest aircraft carrier and flagship of Carrier Strike Group 7 (CSG-7), commanded by Rear Adm. James P. Wisecup.
The strike group includes the guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG-62), guided-missile destroyers USS Decatur (DDG-73), USS Howard (DDG-83), and USS Gridley (DDG-101) and the guided-missile frigate USS Thach (FFG-43). The strike group will support the Maritime Strategy in the 5th and 7th Fleet areas of operation.
"The more than 7,000 Sailors of the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike group are excited to go across the horizon and do the nation's business. It's bittersweet, because we miss our families. You can never get used to leaving them. But we are excited and ready to carry out the mission," Wisecup said.
"Our families are the most important component of our readiness. They have made all of Ronald Reagan's success possible. We cannot wait to get back home with them," said Norton.
The Ronald Reagan CSG is comprised of: Commander, Carrier Strike Group 7, Carrier Air Wing 14, Destroyer Squadron 7, the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), the guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62), the guided-missile destroyers USS Decatur (DDG 73), USS Gridley (DDG 101) and USS Howard (DDG 83), the guided missile frigate USS Thach (FFG 43) and the fast combat support ship USNS Rainier (TAOE 7).
The squadrons of CVW-14 include the "Redcocks" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 22, the "Fist of the Fleet" of VFA-25, the "Stingers" of VFA-113, the "Eagles" of VFA-115, the "Black Eagles" of Airborne Early Warning Squadron 113, the "Cougars" of Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 139, the "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/Ronald Reagan Strike Group, visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn76/.