Aircraft carriers Theodore Roosevelt and Nimitz, along with their carrier strike groups, conducted dual carrier operations Tuesday in the South China Sea — marking the first time since July 2020 the U.S. has partaken in such operations there.

The carrier strike groups completed a series of exercises designed to facilitate interoperability, among other things, according to the U.S. Navy.

“Through operations like this, we ensure that we are tactically proficient to meet the challenge of maintaining peace and we are able to continue to show our partners and allies in the region that we are committed to promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Rear Adm. Doug Verissimo, commander of the Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group, said in a Navy news release.

This isn’t the first time the Roosevelt and Nimitz’s carrier strike groups have completed dual carrier operations together in the past year. In June 2020, the carrier strike groups operated together in the Philippine Sea for integrated exercises.

In fact, the U.S. carried out multiple dual carrier operations in 2020 — the most recent instance being in July 2020 in the South China Sea with the Nimitz and the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group.

The Navy said that these exercises aim to preserve readiness and reassure partners and allies in the region.

“Working cooperatively alongside Carrier Strike Group 9 improves our collective tactical skill while ensuring regional stability and security,” Rear Adm. Jim Kirk, commander of the Nimitz Carrier strike Group, said in a Navy news release. “We are committed to ensuring the lawful use of the sea that all nations enjoy under international law.”

The Roosevelt’s carrier strike group includes Carrier Air Wing 11, guided-missile cruiser Bunker Hill, Destroyer Squadron 23, and guided-missile destroyers Russell and John Finn. The Nimitz’s carrier strike group includes Carrier Air Wing 17, guided-missile cruiser Princeton, guided-missile destroyer Sterett, and staff from Destroyer Squadron 9 and Carrier Strike Group 11.

The Nimitz departed Bremerton, Washington in April 2020 for COMPTUEX, and then departed San Diego, California in June to deploy. Meanwhile, the Roosevelt deployed in December 2020, after having completed a deployment from January to July 2020.

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