Strike group deployed to tension-fraught Pacific region
By LEON COOK | STARS AND STRIPES Published: January 5, 2017
The USS Carl Vinson is bound for the tension-fraught Western Pacific.
The San Diego-based carrier and its strike group of helicopters, fighter jets and ships — including the guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain and the destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer — were due to depart Naval Air Station North Island, Calif., Thursday and Friday, a Navy statement said.
Another destroyer, the Hawaii-based USS Michael Murphy, is slated to join the entourage later this month.
The strike group’s approximately 7,500 servicemembers “will focus on maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts” and take part in bilateral exercises that include “anti-submarine warfare, maneuvering drills, gunnery exercises and visit, board, search and seizure subject matter expert exchanges,” the statement said.
The routine deployment comes less than a week after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said his country is close to testing an intercontinental ballistic missile. China also recently confirmed that its aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, conducted drills in the South China Sea, where its increasingly assertive claims face challenges from its neighbors and the U.S. Navy, The Associated Press reported.