The U.S. Navy staged a show of strength this week with the conclusion of the first three-carrier exercise in the western Pacific Ocean in a decade.
The Bremerton-based USS Nimitz, the USS Ronald Reagan and USS Theodore Roosevelt, along with their strike groups and air wings, participated in the four-day exercise in the Sea of Japan off the Korean Peninsula.
“It was an incredible experience and one the crew will always remember as a moment of great pride in our naval history,” said USS Nimitz commanding officer Capt. Kevin Lenox. “In my conversations with crew, I could hear the pride in their voices as they described this opportunity.”
Lenox said the exercise demonstrated the ship’s and the Navy’s “ability to respond decisively to any threat in the region.”
“Multiple carrier strike force operations are a testament to our mastery in coordinating complex at-sea exercises with not only our naval units, but with allied nations and joint partners in the U.S. Air Force and Marine Corps,” Lenox said.
The exercise coincided with a visit by President Donald Trump to Asia amid rising tensions with North Korea.
North Korean Ambassador to the United Nations Ja Song Nam sent a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday stating the three-carrier exercise had created “the worst-ever situation prevailing in and around the Korean Peninsula,” the Associated Press reported.
The last time three carriers strike groups gathered in the Pacific for an exercise was in 2007, when the Nimitz, USS John C. Stennis and the USS Kitty Hawk participated in exercise Valiant Shield off the coast of Guam.
“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 in a statement from the 7th Fleet Public Affairs Office. “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.”
The exercise, which ran from Saturday to Tuesday, included close maneuvering…