Written by Staff Writer
U.S. Navy personnel carry the USS America through the strait on February 20, 2020 during the annual dog exercise The State of the Joint Staff: Global Joint Force. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Dillard F. Cole, C.B.I.
The United States completed its second and final dry run of the USS America aircraft carrier next week as it readies for deployment to the Middle East, reports Trend.
The carrier conducted the transit without it’s flight wing detachment on Feb. 12-13 and made its first passage through the Taiwan Strait on Feb. 17 as part of a planned course change to optimize its communications skills and help reduce time at sea.
The ship is scheduled to deploy to the Middle East later this year and patrol the region under Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, a bilateral security agreement between the United States and Turkey and other partner nations.
The warm seaward breeze from the Strait, combined with work bays on the forward part of the carrier, helped reduce the vessel’s operating times, allowing it to extend its flight drills even past 24 hours.
USS America celebrates its 75th birthday with free tours in Tokyo. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Michael M. Fullmer
“The State of the Joint Staff: Global Joint Force exercises are highly anticipated by the Sailors,” Senior Chief Security Officer Gary Jones said. “It provides them the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in real world air defense scenarios while honing their skills needed to execute these roles for their home stations and to perform well in major exercises when USS America is actually deployed.”
USS America engages in a simulated weapons mission with the missile and missile-defense mobile exercise launcher from the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force during the annual self-defense drills between the two navies in Yokosuka, Japan on February 20, 2020.
China is worried by the carrier’s transits through the Strait due to the presence of U.S. and Japanese aircraft carriers in the area. “China has every right to oppose this, as does any country with legitimate rights. A country like China is also concerned,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang.
In response, Lt. Cmdr. David McCleskey, commanding officer of the USS America, stated: “The presence of military ships from both Japan and the U.S. in the Taiwan Strait plays an important role in the security environment in this region.”
Currently homeported in Japan, USS America made her first sea departure last December.
“The vibrant and secure regional peace and stability that existed before the Cold War and the complex challenges that do exist today are due to the prudent handling of this sea-lane by both sides,” said McCleskey.
USS America works on maneuvers while conducting the DIPAD’s Remote Hornet Demonstration during a joint exercise with the Japanese Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) and Air Self-Defense Force (ASDF) at the Western Pacific Joint Training Area on December 12, 2016 in Yokosuka, Japan. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class John C. Logdson
“Such exercises help keep those relationships from eroding.”