Three-Carrier Strike Force Exercise to Commence in Western Pacific

The USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), USS Nimitz (CVN 68), and USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) strike groups will commence a three-carrier strike force exercise in the Western Pacific, Nov 11-14.

USS Nimitz (CVN 68), USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) and USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) carrier strike groups transit in formation during exercise Valiant Shield in 2007. The aerial formation consists of aircraft from the carrier strike groups as well as Air Force aircraft. photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Stephen W. Rowe (RELEASED)

Units assigned to the strike force will conduct coordinated operations in international waters in order to demonstrate the U.S. Navy’s unique capability to operate multiple carrier strike groups as a coordinated strike force effort.

“It is a rare opportunity to train with two aircraft carriers together, and even rarer to be able to train with three,” said U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander, Adm. Scott Swift. “Multiple carrier strike force operations are very complex, and this exercise in the Western Pacific is a strong testament to the U.S. Pacific Fleet’s unique ability and ironclad commitment to the continued security and stability of the region.”

While at sea, the strike force plans to conduct air defense drills, sea surveillance, replenishments at sea, defensive air combat training, close-in coordinated maneuvers, and other training.

This is the first time that three carrier strike groups have operated together in the Western Pacific since exercises Valiant Shield 2006 and 2007 off the coast of Guam. Both exercises focused on the ability to rapidly bring together forces from three strike groups in response to any regional situation. Ronald Reagan took part in VS 2006 and Nimitz took part in VS 2007.

More recently, U.S. Navy aircraft carriers have conducted dual carrier strike group operations in the Western Pacific including in the South China Sea, East China Sea and Philippine Sea. These opportunities typically occur when strike groups deployed to the 7th Fleet area of operations from the West Coast of the United States are joined with the forward deployed carrier strike group from Japan.

For more than 70 years, the U.S. Pacific Fleet has been a persistent and stabilizing presence conducting operations throughout the region. The Fleet is just as committed to maintaining those security commitments for the next 70 years.

Out to Sea on the Destroyer USS Chung-Hoon

Well I just got back from a couple days on Oahu and all I can say is WOW!

A week ago, I got a message from someone with the US Pacific Command inviting my wife and baby to come along board the Navy Destroyer USS Chung-Hoon, for their “Family Day” that they were having along with bringing on folks from the  Navy League Honolulu Council who have adopted the Chung-Hoon as their own special ship.

I accepted the invite and I had been eagerly waiting to tell folks all about this opportunity of a lifetime, but I agreed not to say anything until after I went on the trip.

Unfortunately, my son has school and we weren’t gonna pull him out for two days although I wanted to.  There were a few other kids on the boat and they certainly were having the time of their life.

I was stoked to know that I would be in the comfort of other non military folks who are also into blogs and social media:

There was internet-tech guru, Burt Lum from Bytemarks, the ever popular Honolulu Advertiser Blogger – Shauna Goya, of  “Odds and Ends“, the inspirational and crafty photographer Dallas Nagata, also Kaimana Pine from KDesign Hawaii and Kanu Hawaii was a last minute entrant and  we were also joined by Russell Mesinas of the Air Force and Christie Shimabuku of the Waikiki Resort Hotel.

I met with the Public Affairs people at 8:00 at the Pass & ID office by the main Nimitz gate and they brought us into the secured area in their Public Affairs van.

We weren’t allowed to take pictures as we were driving down to where USS Destroyer Chung-Hoon was based at, but once we got to the ship, we were pretty much free to take pictures of anything we wanted… well accept the combat room… however, they did let us go into the combat room which was pretty cool to see them at actual work.

I was fascinated by many things and took over 280 pictures which you can see below, so I’ll just point out some of the cooler stuff that I saw that I can actually explain a bit.

Above is a picture of me sitting at the helm of the “bridge” of the ship.  Inside this part of the room is where the sailors actually steer the Destroyer from.

Here is a short movie I made inside the area…

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-p-uX89gOLA&hl=en_US&fs=1&]

They fed us lunch on the deck of the ship which consisted of kalbi, hamburgers, hot dogs, corn, salad, chips, and dessert… The problem  for me, is I was getting a little seasick so I wasn’t able to eat all of my lunch.

Then something pretty cool happened, we got to watch one of the Sailors re-enlist with the Navy which is a pretty inspirational thing.

His family was able to be there to support him in his decision:

We got to tour pretty much the entire boat from everything from the kitchen

to the places where the sailors sleep (3 to a room in this one particular)

There were lots of things that interested me… but these missile launchers for some reason really had my interest “piqued” and I wish I could have looked inside one of these hatches.

Our public affairs person with the Pacific Command asked the Commander of the Chung-Hoon, CDR Mike McCartney, to come out and talk with us and that was pretty inspirational.

On the way back into Pearl Harbor after being out at sea for about 4 hours, the ship decided that it would show off some of it’s power and they blasted away at a very fast speed for about 10-20 miles.  I went to the back of the destroyer and caught this video of the wake.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xb6VO4sEGAg&hl=en_US&fs=1&]

It was pretty cool because out of nowhere this Submarine started heading towards us and the two ships communicated to make sure there wasn’t a collision but they still got close enough so that I could take this picture as it was going by.

It was pretty interesting being on the ship while the Sailors were on duty at different stations.

I can’t possibly post all the pictures and write about them, you can click the pictures below for a larger version.

You can learn more about the USS Chong-Hoon by going to their homepage here: USS Chong-Hoon

The avergae age of a Chung-Hoon Sailor is 28 years old
Our Culinary Specialists cook 750 meals a day
We serve nearly 31 dozen eggs a day
On average the Chung-Hoon will carry 45 days worth of food
Our hungry Sailors consume 15 loaves of bread a day
The hard working Ships Serviceman clean 2200 lbs of laundry a month
Da Kine Barber shop will cut 250 heads of hair a month
The ships store makes $40,000 of sales a month

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9rAunPwbUQ&hl=en_US&fs=1&]