June 8 (UPI) -- The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, with its strike group and air wing, was forward deployed in the Indo-Pacific theater, the Navy announced on Monday.
The ship, garrisoned at Yokusaka, Japan, and deployed in the 7th Fleet's Indo-Pacific area of operations, is joined by guided missile destroyers of Destroyer Squadron 15 to form a strike force, and carries aircraft and personnel comprising Carrier Air Wing 5.
"Following sea trials, Reagan commenced deployment by on-loading more than 1,000 tons of ordnance," the Navy said in a statement Monday. "With more than 5,000 crew embarked, and 60-plus aircraft, Reagan is capable of sustaining round-the-clock maritime operations."
Those aboard the ships completed a "phased restriction of movement" because of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the support of several U.S. military facilities in Japan, the Navy said in May. The vessel returned for sea trials following required medical testing.
"These extraordinary measures of precaution were implemented because the health and safety of our Sailors is front and center to our warfighting readiness," Rear Adm. George Wikoff, commander of Carrier Strike Group 5, said in May. "I cannot overstate my appreciation for the hard work of our Sailors to protect the health of our force, and to all those who support us and enable our enduring mission."
The Navy did not announce the destination of the strike force on Monday, saying in a statement only that it is deployed "in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific region."
In March, the strike force was to be involved in a multinational "Large Scale Exercise 2020," which was postponed due to the pandemic.