The aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan and its carrier strike group completed integrated operations with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force in the Philippine Sea last week.

In addition to conducting maritime maneuvers in international waters with Japan’s Hyuga-class helicopter destroyer JS Ise, the carrier strike group also completed a publication exercise in which the “watch standers of each ship quizzed each other on tactical and technical literature,” according to a June 1 Navy news release.

The carrier strike group also completed an anti-submarine warfare exercise, while the guided-missile cruiser Shiloh and Ise coordinated cross-deck operations to transfer helicopters between each vessel’s flight decks. The operations concluded May 29.

“Operating at sea with our allies in the JMSDF ensures we can face a range of maritime challenges together, now and in the future,” Rear Adm. Will Pennington, commander of Task Force 70 and Carrier Strike Group 5, said in the release. “These operations have engaged our whole strike group and given our respective teams renewed confidence to meet our missions across the region.”

The Reagan’s carrier strike group includes the Shiloh, Carrier Air Wing 5, underway replenishment oiler USNS Pecos, and dry cargo ship USNS Charles Drew.

The Wall Street Journal reported May 26 that the Reagan would head to the Middle East this summer to support the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, following President Joe Biden’s announcement in April that U.S. troops would depart the country by Sept. 11, 2021.

The Reagan is expected to move from the Asia-Pacific region to U.S. 5th Fleet and remain in U.S. Central Command’s region for up to four months, according to the Journal. The move coincides with the exit of the aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower, which is currently deployed in the region.

Cmdr. Kimberly Brubeck, a NAVCENT spokesperson, said the command did not discuss ship movements in response to a request for comment from Navy Times.

According to U.S. Central Command, the U.S. had completed between 30 to 44 percent of the withdrawal process as of May 31.

“Since the President’s decision, the DoD has retrograded the equivalent of approximately 300 C-17 loads of material out of Afghanistan and have turned nearly 13,000 pieces of equipment to the Defense Logistics Agency for disposition,” CENTCOM said in a news release.

“Also, the U.S. has officially handed over six facilities to the Afghan Ministry of Defense,” CENTCOM said in a news release.

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