By Debbie Gregory.
Just days after arrival its arrival in the South China Sea, the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group had moved on. While the group’s appearance in the region came during a period of rising tensions, Navy officials have maintained that the ships were in the area for standard operations only.
After just five days, the strike group transited into the Philippine Sea on March 8th, via the Luzon Strait. By March 9th, the group was in the waters south of Japan, and by March 22nd they had reached the waters surrounding the Korean Peninsula.
Providing a ready force supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific, Stennis is operating as part of the Great Green Fleet on a regularly scheduled 7th Fleet deployment.
The Stennis Strike Group joined the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army and the Republic of Korea Air Force and Navy to participate in Maritime Counter Special Operations Force (MCSOF) exercise, which is part of the annual Foal Eagle (FE16) exercise that wrapped up March 24th.
Other ships, including the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser Antietam and amphibious dock landing ship Ashland, also conducted routine operations within the South China Sea, according to official Navy releases.
I had the honor and the privilege to be a guest on the John C. Stennis as part of the distinguished visitor program. The program places leaders from all sectors of society – (corporate, civic, government, education, non-profit and service) aboard a deployed carrier. While aboard with the other guests, we were given the opportunity to meet and interact with the talented young men and women who bring these ships to life. They are really the best of the best!
We experienced, first-hand, how the Navy is contributing to the security of the United States, and to the stability of the global community. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget.