The U.S. deployed an aircraft carrier group to the South China Sea on Feb. 18, one day after China completed naval exercises in the disputed waters.
Rear Adm. James Kilby, commander of the Vinson strike group, told Navy News Service that “the training completed over the past few weeks has really brought the team together and improved our effectiveness and readiness as a strike group. We are looking forward to demonstrating those capabilities while building upon existing strong relationships with our allies, partners and friends in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.”
Carrier Strike Group 1 includes the Vinson (CVN 70), the Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108), and aircraft from Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2. The Vinson carries a flight group of more than 60 aircraft.
CVW-2 includes the “Black Knights” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 4, the “Blue Hawks” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 78, the “Bounty Hunters” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 2, the “Blue Blasters” of VFA-34, the “Kestrels” of VFA-137, the “Golden Dragons” of VFA-1
92, the “Black Eagles” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 113, the “Gauntlets” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 136 and the “Providers” of Fleet Logistic Support Squadron (VRC) 30.
The Vinson’s deployment marks the second high-profile U.S. Navy vessel operation in the South China Sea this month. The littoral combat ship USS Coronado, which is temporarily based in Singapore, had earlier conducted training operations in the area, according to the Navy.
Full article: U.S. aircraft carrier group begins patrols in disputed S. China Sea (World Tribune)