Sailors carry out a general quarters drill aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, May 3, 2024.

Sailors carry out a general quarters drill aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, May 3, 2024. (Kyree Rogers/U.S. Navy)

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — The USS Ronald Reagan recently steamed out of Tokyo Bay, foreshadowing its final, impending departure from U.S. 7th Fleet.

The aircraft carrier left Yokosuka, its homeport, at approximately 10 a.m. Sunday alongside the guided-missile destroyer USS Higgins, Carrier Strike Group 5 spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Seth Koenig said by phone Tuesday.

The ship’s departure is likely one of the last times it will transit the bay before it relocates sometime soon to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Wash.

“The Ronald Reagan and Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group are proud of their service as America’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier and carrier strike group,” Koenig said in an earlier email Tuesday.

“There will be additional opportunities to do so, but we will not pass up a chance to express our deep appreciation and gratitude to our Japanese friends and family for the strength and closeness of our alliance,” he added.

Koenig declined to comment on when the Ronald Reagan will leave for Bremerton, citing concern for operational security.

He also would not say whether the carrier is undergoing sea trials, typically the last milestone before its annual, six-month patrol.

Instead, Koenig described the ship’s departure as a “scheduled underway period” that includes “routine operations,” he wrote.

“When we have more information to release about USS Ronald Reagan’s departure,” he added. “We will distribute that through the appropriate channels.”

In the past, the carrier has undergone one or two weeks of trials before starting its patrol.

Sea trials also typically follow or coincide with Carrier Air Wing 5’s annual carrier-landing practice on Iwo Jima. That training began Saturday and runs through May 15.

Naval aviators are spending that time flying multiple sorties and completing numerous touch-and-goes that simulate landing aboard an aircraft carrier at sea.

The Ronald Reagan’s replacement, the USS George Washington, is also underway; it left Naval Station Norfolk on April 25 for a deployment to Central and South America.

Koenig said that deployment is part of its transit to 7th Fleet. He declined to comment on the George Washington’s anticipated arrival time, again citing security concerns.

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Alex Wilson covers the U.S. Navy and other services from Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan. Originally from Knoxville, Tenn., he holds a journalism degree from the University of North Florida. He previously covered crime and the military in Key West, Fla., and business in Jacksonville, Fla.

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