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Reagan Launches First Sorties in Support of OEF

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS080829-08
Release Date: 8/29/2008 3:51:00 PM

By Lt. Ron Flanders, USS Ronald Reagan Public Affairs

USS RONALD REAGAN, At Sea (NNS) -- The Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group assumed the duties as Commander, Task Force (CTF) 50 Aug. 28 and launched its first sorties into Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Aircraft from Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 14 departed the decks of the strike group's flagship, the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), bound for Afghanistan to support coalition ground forces.

"This is the mission we've been training for almost a year to carry out," said Rear Adm. Phil Wisecup, commander, Carrier Strike Group 7.

"Every Sailor in this strike group has tremendous focus right now; our pilots and maintenance crews are extremely sharp, and we'll do our part to help coalition troops and foster security in Afghanistan."

Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group relieved the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group who has operated in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations since April.

Other CSG-7 ships are supporting Maritime Security Operations (MSO) while deployed to the region. The guided-missile destroyers USS Decatur (DDG 73), USS Howard (DDG 83) and USS Gridley (DDG 101), as well as the guided-missile frigate USS Thach (FFG 43) joined Coalition Task Forces 152 and 150 help deter destabilizing activities and ensure a lawful maritime order in the Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman and Gulf of Aden.

Ronald Reagan is joined by the guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) and relieves USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) on station. The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group performed the CTF 50 mission for more than four months.

"Abraham Lincoln and her Sailors performed incredibly well," said Capt. Kenneth Norton, Ronald Reagan's commanding officer.

"We received an outstanding turnover from Lincoln, and we're here to provide the same high level of support to our coalition troops."

The squadrons of CVW-14 include the "Redcocks" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 22, the "Fist of the Fleet" of VFA-25, the "Stingers" of VFA-113, the "Eagles" of VFA-115, the "Black Eagles" of Airborne Early Warning Squadron 113, the "Cougars" of Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 139, and the "Black Knights" of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 4.

The Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group is on a routine deployment to the region. Operations in the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command area of operations are focused on reassuring regional partners of the United States' commitment to security, which promotes stability and global prosperity.

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