USS Ronald Reagan lingers longer during patrol’s midpoint break in Japan
Stars and Stripes September 25, 2023
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan is late returning to its routine patrol, having missed five planned departure dates in the past week, according to the city of Yokosuka.
The Navy notified Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs that the Ronald Reagan would leave the U.S. 7th Fleet’s homeport on Sept. 18, but that plan was quickly scrapped, a spokesman for the city’s Military Base Policy Division said by phone Wednesday.
Since then, the Navy has rescheduled and missed at least five departure dates for the Ronald Reagan, according to city news releases. The ship, centerpiece of the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group, missed the latest scheduled departure at 10 a.m. Monday, the city said that day.
Seventh Fleet spokeswoman Lt. Kristina Wiedemann, in a phone call with Stars and Stripes on Monday, declined to comment on the cause of the ship’s delayed departure or speak to a possible departure date.
The Navy rarely discusses ship movements publicly but routinely notifies the Japanese government when a nuclear-powered vessel such as the Ronald Reagan arrives or departs Yokosuka city on Tokyo Bay, the city spokesman told Stars and Stripes.
The city announces that information as matter of public interest, the spokesman said. The Navy does not notify Japan of the arrival or departure of its submarines.
The city spokesman declined to comment on the cause of the ship’s delay, citing it as a question for the U.S. military.
Many Japanese government officials are required to speak with the media on condition of anonymity.
The Ronald Reagan and its crew returned to Yokosuka on Aug. 25, part of a customary break at the midway point of a typically six-month-long sea patrol.
During its stay, the ship incurred routine maintenance and some of its crew was replaced, Task Force 70 spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Seth Koenig said Wednesday.