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.
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.
"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."