Carrier Strike Group 7 heads for South Korea
July 13, 2008
PYEONGTAEK, South Korea — Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and other ships in its strike group will get a close-up look at South Korea’s major seaport during a goodwill visit there in the coming week, the Navy said Friday.
The Reagan, which is more than 1,000 feet long, rises 20 stories above the water and has a 4.5-acre flight deck and 60 aircraft. It’s the flagship of Carrier Strike Group 7, deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet operating in the Western Pacific.
The carrier will be docked at the South Korean naval base in Busan, South Korea’s second-largest city and principal seaport. Two other vessels in the strike group, the cruiser USS Chancellorsville and guided-missile destroyer USS Gridley, also will visit Busan. The three ships carry about 6,660 sailors total.
Two other strike group ships, the guided-missile destroyers USS Decatur and USS Howard, will dock at Chinhae for their part of the week’s visit, said Navy Lt. Pamela Bou, spokeswoman for the U.S. Navy in South Korea. Each destroyer has about 300 sailors.
In both cities, sailors will divide their time between community relations visits to such places as local orphanages, and sports and social events with South Korean sailors and soldiers, Bou said.
One highlight of the visit promises to be time the Reagan’s sailors spend with their South Korean naval counterparts. It’s the sailor-to-sailor interaction that people remember most" from such visits, she said.
Visits to a nursing home, a vocational training center, and homes for orphans, the elderly and the mentally disabled — six trips in all — are also scheduled for the Reagan’s crew, Bou said.
The Reagan was last in South Korea in March 2007 with a port visit to Busan.
The ship was commissioned in July 2003 and is the ninth and newest Nimitz-class aircraft carrier.