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Ronald Reagan Strike Group Departs for JTFEX, Final Deployment Preparations

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS110202-03

From USS Ronald Reagan Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group (CSG) and its crew of more than 6,000 Sailors, departed San Diego Feb. 2, for a Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) and final deployment preparations.

"We are ready to go to sea to finish our final qualifications before deployment," said Capt. Thom W. Burke, USS Ronald Reagan commanding officer. "My Sailors have been well trained throughout this process, and are excited and ready for any challenges that we may meet."

JTFEX is an integrated battle force exercise designed to test the capabilities of carrier strike groups operating with multinational forces in a joint environment. It is the culmination of a series of exercises and training requirements conducted in preparation for deployment and readies the strike group for any challenge it may face while deployed.

Upon successful completion of JTFEX and final preparations, Ronald Reagan CSG will deploy to the Western Pacific and Central Command areas of operation to conduct maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts, helping establish conditions for regional stability.

"Every member of the Preble team has worked extremely hard over these past months preparing for operations…We're trained and ready to execute," said Cmdr. Joe Cahill, USS Preble (DDG 88) commanding officer. "As we sail west our hearts stay here with our families and friends, but we take great pride in answering the nation's call."

The Ronald Reagan CSG is comprised of USS Ronald Reagan, guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7, which includes USS Preble.

Embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 14 includes the "Black Knights" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 154, the "Argonauts" of VFA-147, the "Blue Diamonds" of VFA-146, the "Death Rattlers" of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 323, the "Black Eagles" of Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 113, the "Cougars" of Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron (VAQ) 139, the "Providers" of Carrier Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 30 and the "Black Knights" of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 4.

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