PHILIPPINE SEA (Nov. 20, 2022) – Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 5 joined the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) in the Philippine Sea for tri-lateral operations to include the first replenishment at sea (RAS) between a new Australian oiler and a U.S. aircraft carrier, Nov. 20.
USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) and forces from CSG 5, including guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) and guided-missile destroyer USS Milius (DDG 69), are conducting tri-lateral operations with JS Setogiri (DD 156) of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) and HMAS Stalwart (A304) of the Royal Australian Navy, to focus on allied interoperability training in the areas of sustainment capability and high-end warfighting.
“The crew of the Ronald Reagan appreciates the opportunity to conduct underway replenishments with our Allies and partners,” said Capt. Daryle Cardone, commanding officer, USS Ronald Reagan. “Our ability to replenish at sea is an advanced, and visible demonstration of our high-end warfighting capabilities, interoperability, and firm commitment to our operational readiness and to one another."
Stalwart’s RAS with Ronald Reagan was the first conducted between the this newest class of Australian auxiliary oiler replenishment ship and a U.S. aircraft carrier . It builds on the cooperation forged over many years with earlier classes of Australian underway replenishment ships.
"The RAS with Ronald Reagan is our opportunity to sustain the fleet and is a force multiplier in the region proving changeability at the tactical level alongside our Allies and partners," said Capt. David Tietzel, Commander, Australian Maritime Task Group (COMAUSMARTG).
JS Setogiri and USS Milius conducted a tri-lateral RAS when both ships came alongside Stalwart for replenishment following the operations with the carrier.
"Most people really can't fathom how large the Pacific Ocean truly is. To live and work here year round, day and night, and in all weather conditions, requires tremendous logistical support", said Capt. Justin Harts, deputy commodore, Commander, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15. "We have an Australian supply ship bringing millions of gallons of fuel, food, and supplies to a Carrier Strike Group escorted by Japanese, Canadian, and American warships. Being so incredibly well integrated with our Allies and partners ensures we can better deliver on the ask from Western Pacific nations for increased regional stability."
In addition to the replenishment operations, the strike group, RAN and JMSDF units conducted air defense exercises, escort drills, and formation sailing with specific scenarios designed to increase interoperability. CSG 5 commander and Commander, Task Force (CTF) 70, Rear Adm. Michael Donnelly visited JS Setogiri during these operations to meet leadership of the JMSDF ship and discuss ongoing maritime coordination operations.
The U.S., RAN and JMSDF work together on a number of initiatives and conduct regular personnel exchanges, routine participation in bilateral and multilateral exercises as well as combined operations. Trilateral exercises like these enable the three maritime forces to advance the complexity of training utilizing diverse naval platforms and warfare areas.
USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group is underway conducting operations in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific. U.S. 7th Fleet conducts forward-deployed naval operations in support of U.S. national interests in the Indo-Pacific area of operations. As the U.S. Navy's largest numbered fleet, 7th Fleet interacts with 35 other maritime nations to build partnerships that foster maritime security, promote stability, and prevent conflict.