BRISBANE, Australia (UPI) — The USS Ronald Reagan, the only aircraft carrier permanently based outside the United States, and its accompanying ships and planes arrived in Brisbane, Australia, for a regularly scheduled port visit ahead of an exercise.
The USS Ronald Reagan and the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville pulled into Brisbane on Friday for the visit, days before it will participate in the Talisman Sabre 2019 exercise.
One day earlier, the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell docked in Townsville, Australia.
Carrier Air Wing 5, which includes the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler, E-2D Hawkeye and C-2A Greyhound as well as MH-60S-R Seahawk helicopters, is also part of the Reagan Carrier Strike Group.
“USS Ronald Reagan sailors are excited to engage in Talisman Sabre 2019 with their Australian counterparts,” Capt. Pat Hannifin, Ronald Reagan’s commanding officer, said in a news release. “Having served alongside Aussies in every conflict for 100 years, we are truly honored to visit your beautiful country again. We look forward to the sights of Brisbane and the hospitality that Australians are known for.”
Before beginning Talisman Sabre 2019, strike group personnel can go on tours and participate in events with the local community. The Ronald Reagan Strike Group operates as part of Task Force 70.
Talisman Sabre runs from June to August, with a “peak” July 11-24 in the Shoalwater Bay Training Area and surrounding forests near Rockhampton in Central Queensland, among other areas.
The Nimitz-class carrier in May left its homeport of Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, in its first deployment of 2019. Last month, the USS Ronald Reagan CSG conducted a joint naval exercise with Japan’s Izumo carrier group in the South China Sea.
“As a forward-deployed force, the Ronald Reagan Strike Group enjoys the latitude and freedom to operate where it matters, when it matters, while training side-by-side with our allies and partners throughout the Indo-Pacific region,” said Rear Admiral Karl Thomas, commander of Task Force 70. “Visiting the beautiful city of Brisbane and taking part in Talisman Sabre 19 is a phenomenal way to fortify our alliance with Australia and demonstrate to other nations in this critical region our steadfast commitment to sustaining a stable security environment.”
The task force is forward-deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. The region has more than than 50 percent of the world’s shipping tonnage and a third of the world’s crude oil passing.
Reporting by Allen Cone
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