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U.S. 7th Fleet Commander visits USS Ronald Reagan at the start of 2021 deployment

04 June 2021

From USS Ronald Reagan Public Affairs

PHILIPPINE SEA – Vice Adm. Bill Merz, commander of U.S. 7th Fleet, visited the U.S. Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), June 2.

Ronald Reagan and its carrier strike group departed Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY) May 19, 2021, for a patrol in support of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

During Merz’s visit, he attended meetings with warfare commanders and provided a message to the crew over the ship’s announcement system.

“In the end, we [in U.S. 7th Fleet] are stronger, and you led us to that higher position of strength. I appreciate that,” said Merz. “I couldn’t be more impressed by how you have conducted yourselves both at sea and in port. Ronald Reagan and Task Force 70 are a tough team, and I need tough.”

Ronald Reagan’s Command Master Chief Chris King said that the 7th Fleet commander’s visit to the ship at the beginning of deployment demonstrates the importance of operations in the region to the crew.

“We're proud of the entire team aboard USS Ronald Reagan and their ability to overcome any challenge thrown at them is truly impressive,” said King. “For our fleet commander to recognize the specific efforts of what the team does on the deck plates every day as related to the larger mission is a great way to energize and motivate this crew of dedicated professionals.”

Capt. Fred Goldhammer, commanding officer of Ronald Reagan, emphasized that the crew remains ready to support missions wherever the U.S. Navy requires the only forward-deployed aircraft carrier to serve.

“We are always excited to have an opportunity for senior leadership to see the incredible work that our Sailors perform each day, especially while deployed,” said Goldhammer. “As the cornerstone of our nation's ‘away team,’ Ronald Reagan remains ready to answer the call anywhere in the world, wherever our capabilities are needed the most.”

Ronald Reagan, the flagship of Carrier Strike Group 5, provides a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interests of its allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region.

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