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U.S. Pacific Fleet chief visits USS Ronald Reagan while at sea

U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander Adm. Samuel Paparo addressed the crew of the USS Ronald Reagan during his at-sea visit to the aircraft carrier this week. Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy
U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander Adm. Samuel Paparo addressed the crew of the USS Ronald Reagan during his at-sea visit to the aircraft carrier this week. Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy

June 11 (UPI) -- The U.S. Pacific Fleet commander met with Carrier Strike Group 5 leaders this week aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, the Navy announced on Friday.

Adm. Samuel Paparo boarded the vessel, the Navy's only forward-deployed aircraft carrier, as it sailed in the western Pacific Ocean, accompanied by escort ships and its carrier wing of fighter planes and helicopters.

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He met with SGC-5 commander Rear Adm. Will Pennington and chiefs of the escort ships USS Shiloh and USS Halsey, a Navy statement said.

Paparo also addressed the aircraft carrier's crew from the ship's combat direction center.

"It was very important to me to come out and talk with you, here, as you continue to hone the razor's edge to be ready for combat throughout the world," he said. "I have a particular appreciation for you and your teamwork, your hard work, your combat readiness, your fidelity, and your zeal. I could not be more proud to be associated with this team."

The ship and its strike group departed its homeport of Naval Base Yokosuka, Japan, on May 19.

They were visited by 7th Fleet Vice Adm. Bill Merz last week while in the Philippine Sea. Visits by commanding officers while at sea are regarded as rare.

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"It is incredibly important for our team to hear from the commander of Pacific Fleet," said Cmdr. Kelechi Ndukwe, commanding officer of the USS Halsey after Pennington's visit. "I'm going to reiterate to my crew what he said about the incredible environment we're operating in."

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