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USS Vinson, USS Reagan Carrier Strike Groups Conduct Dual Exercises in Sea of Japan


Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean Castellano, from Colorado Springs, Colo., records video footage on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson in the western Pacific region, May 23, 2017.

Two U.S. aircraft carriers have started military exercises together in the Sea of Japan, U.S. Navy officials tell VOA.

"The USS Carl Vinson Strike Group and USS Ronald Reagan Strike Group are conducting routine operations in the Western Pacific," Navy spokesman Lt. Loren Terry said.

Officials said the carriers, along with the ships and aircraft assigned to each, began dual operations in international waters within the sea on Wednesday.

The dual-carrier exercises come days after North Korea launched another missile into the Sea of Japan.

A wave breaks on the forecastle of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer as the ship begins its approach to the fleet replenishment oiler USNS Rappahannock for a replenishment-at-sea in the western Pacific region, May 26, 2017.
A wave breaks on the forecastle of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer as the ship begins its approach to the fleet replenishment oiler USNS Rappahannock for a replenishment-at-sea in the western Pacific region, May 26, 2017.

The multi-day, multi-carrier exercises provide "combatant commanders with significant operational flexibility should these forces be called upon in response to regional situations," Terry told VOA.

"This unique capability is one of many ways the U.S. Navy promotes security, stability and prosperity throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific," he added.

The dual-carrier operations mark the end of the USS Vinson strike group's tour in the Western Pacific, according to a Navy official.

The USS Reagan strike group includes cruiser USS Shiloh and destroyers USS Barry and USS McCampbell.

The USS Vinson strike group includes destroyers USS Wayne E. Meyer and USS Michael Murphy along with cruiser USS Lake Champlain.

American ships and aircraft routinely operate in international waters throughout the Western Pacific, which includes waters surrounding the Korean Peninsula.

U.S. Pacific Command said the short-range ballistic missile North Korea launched on May 28 posed no threat to North America, adding that the U.S. military stands behind its "ironclad commitment to the security of our allies in the Republic of Korea and Japan."

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed to work with the United States to "take specific action to deter North Korea."

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    Carla Babb

    Carla is VOA's Pentagon correspondent covering defense and international security issues. Her datelines include Ukraine, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Korea.

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