The aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan and its carrier strike group are operating in the South China Sea for the first time since deploying from Yokosuka, Japan, in May.

The carrier strike group is executing flight operations with fixed and rotary-wing aircraft, maritime strike exercises and coordinated tactical training with surface and air units while in the region.

“Our strike group works consistently to stay capable and ready and we continue that focus during operations in the South China Sea to demonstrate our commitment to the region,” Rear Adm. Michael Donnelly, commander of Task Force 70 and Carrier Strike Group 5, said in a Navy news release. “Building on the lessons and successes of exercises like Valiant Shield 2022, and our continuous opportunities to train and operate alongside allies and partners, we provide assured capability to uphold the rules-based international order in this body of water and anywhere else we will sail, fly and operate.”

The carrier strike group participated in the biennial Valiant Shield exercise last month in the Philippine Sea, where the carrier strike group was involved in a sinking exercise to drown the decommissioned frigate Vandegrift. Aircraft from Carrier Air Wing 5 conducted long-range maritime strikes for the live-fire exercise.

Approximately 13,000 personnel from the U.S. Navy, Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, and Space Force joined in the joint Field Training Exercise. The U.S.-only event focuses on integration between U.S. forces in relation to current operational plans, enabling real-world proficiency in sustaining joint forces through detecting, locating, tracking and engaging adversaries.

In addition to Carrier Air Wing 5, the Reagan’s strike group includes guided-missile cruisers Antietam and Chancellorsville, along with ships, crew and staff from Destroyer Squadron 15, and staff from Carrier Strike Group 5.

The Reagan returned from its last deployment in October 2021.

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