Four carriers to be in Pacific for exercises this summer
ARLINGTON, Va. — The Navy plans to position four aircraft carriers in the Pacific for exercises this summer, one of which will likely include the USS Kitty Hawk, based at Yokosuka, Japan, Navy officials said.
The Kitty Hawk is the centerpiece of the Pacific Fleet, and as such, would participate in any major exercise there, according to Capt. Mike Brown, a spokesman for U.S. Pacific Fleet.
“Unless the [Kitty Hawk] were in the yards,” Brown said, “it would be typical for the ship to engage in these types of exercises and [operations].”
This summer would mark the largest U.S. carrier presence in the Pacific in 10 years, said Adm. Gary Roughead, commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet.
Roughead also said the guided missile cruiser USS Shiloh will be bringing some special weaponry to Japan when it replaces a similar ship there this year.
“The USS Shiloh is a ship that has — or will have — the most advanced anti-ballistic missile defense capability onboard,” he said.
The Shiloh will replace one of the two Aegis cruisers currently based at Yokosuka, though PacFleet spokesman Jon Yoshishige could not say which.
Asked if the USS Ronald Reagan, now deployed to the Pacific, would also be one of those carriers, Brown said, “That’s a fair assumption.”
The carriers would be deployed in various combinations in the Pacific over the summer months, Brown said Thursday.
Three carriers would take part in an exercise this June in the Western Pacific; in July one carrier would participate in the annual RIMPAC exercises off Hawaii; and two carriers would work together in August in the Western Pacific, Brown said.
One of the carriers involved in the August exercises would come from the Atlantic Fleet, said Brown, who declined to name the carrier.
The Navy did not have any further information Wednesday on what type of exercises or foreign militaries would be involved.
“A number of exercises are scheduled for this summer and are in the planning phase at this point. As more details become available, we will get them to you,” said Lt. Ryan Perry, a spokesman for U.S. Pacific Fleet.
Brown said the planned exercises show the United States’ understanding of the Pacific region’s importance and the role U.S. naval forces play representing their country.
“Our country is linked very closely with the region and we want to be good neighbors,” he said.