ABOARD USS RONALD REAGAN (NNS) -- Adm. Sir Jonathon Band, First Sea Lord and Chief of Staff of the Royal Navy visited the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) as the ship conducted routine training off of Southern California April 16.
Band visited Reagan for a four-hour familiarization tour, observing flight operations from the deck and meeting and speaking with Sailors in the ship's air, operations and combat systems departments.
"It's part of a visit that I'm doing at the invitation of the CNO (Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Gary Roughead) to see the United States Navy," said Band.
The primary purpose of the visit was a general overview of carrier operations. Band explained that the United Kingdom is modernizing its naval aviation forces and will count on their allies in the U.S. Navy for support and expertise to get their personnel trained to the same level.
"They want to look at the integration between the air wing and the ship itself," said Capt. Kenneth J. Norton, Ronald Reagan's commanding officer. "So they got a chance to come out and view air wing operations."
Band was impressed by the level of professionalism he saw while aboard Reagan.
"It is the most extraordinary example of teamwork," said Band.
The Royal Navy is in the process of building two Queen Elizabeth-class nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, which will be larger and more capable than their current Invincible-class carriers, and much closer in size to the Nimitz-class. In his time as First Sea Lord, Band has been a firm advocate of the necessity for the modernization of the Royal Navy's carrier fleet to better accomplish their mission, which according to Band is very similar to that of the United States Navy.
"We're into power projection," said Band. "We're into presence abroad. We're into supporting our land forces ashore." Band added that the United Kingdom and the United States share the same vision, a sentiment echoed by Ronald Reagan's commanding officer.
"They are our most trusted allies worldwide," said Norton. "Wherever we go in the world we can usually see our allies, the Royal Navy, there working with us as equal partners in maritime security operations and the Maritime Strategy. We can't do it without them."
USS Ronald Reagan is the flagship of Carrier Strike Group Seven and the ninth of ten Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. The ship is named for the 40th president, its motto, "Peace through Strength," was a recurring theme during the Reagan presidency.
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