|USS RONALD REAGAN ENTERING HOMEPORT SAN DIEGO|
HONORING AMERICA’S MILITARY PROFESSIONALS ONE BLOGPOST AT A TIME
ABOUT THE USS RONALD REAGAN-- By MC1(SW) James Green.
As one of the world’s largest warships, the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76), is a Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and one of only ten operational aircraft carriers in the Navy today.
Named in honor of former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, the carrier is longer than 3 football fields, at nearly 1,100 feet long and is 252 feet wide and weighs more than 100,000 tons. Two nuclear reactors can push the ship through the water at nearly 35 mph.
Sailors’ jobs are highly varied aboard USS Ronald Reagan. Nearly 3,000 men and women make up the ship’s company, which keeps all parts of the aircraft carrier running smoothly — this includes everything from washing dishes and preparing meals to handling weaponry and maintaining the nuclear reactors. Another 2,000 or so form the air wing, the people who actually fly and maintain the aircraft.
“I never cease to be impressed with the type and quality of work that goes on aboard the carrier each day,” said Captain Christopher E. Bolt, the carrier’s commanding officer. “Our team is filled with highly qualified young adults – in many cases, 19 and 20 years old – and they’re out here launching and recovering aircraft, running a complex propulsion system safely, serving as air traffic controllers, operating sophisticated electronics, and keeping this floating city alive and functioning.
“Their work ethic, enthusiasm, and esprit de corps are second to none. If you pick up a newspaper in any city and examine what other 19- and 20-year-olds are doing, there is no comparison to the level of responsibility our Sailors hold. That caliber of Sailor is what has earned us the title of America’s Flagship,” said Captain Bolt.
USS Ronald Reagan is also a self-sustaining, mobile airport and, like each of the Navy’s aircraft carriers, is designed for a 50-year service life. While underway, the ship carries more than 70 jets, helicopters and other aircraft, all of which take off from and land on the carrier’s 4.5-acre flight deck. Four powerful catapults launch aircraft off the bow of the ship. After lowering a tail hook that protrudes from the rear of the aircraft, jets and aircraft land by snagging a steel cable called an arresting wire.
After an extended maintenance period spent pier side in San Diego, USS Ronald Reagan is preparing for its move to Japan, as part of the first ever three-hull aircraft carrier crew and hull swap. It will replace USS George Washington in Japan and become part of the U.S. 7th Fleet forward-deployed naval forces (FDNF) in Yokosuka, Japan. As part of this rebalance strategy to increase the Navy’s presence in the Pacific Fleet, USS Theodore Roosevelt will move from Norfolk, Va., to San Diego.
In 2008, George Washington was the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier sent to Japan as part of the FDNF. Maintaining a FDNF capability supports the United States’ commitment to the defense of Japan and the security and stability of the vital Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
SAN DIEGANS ABOARD THE GIPPER:
--Airman Caitlyn Sweat is also aboard the USS Reagan. This 2012 grad of San Diego’s Grace Christian Charter school, she is an aviation ordnanceman. “My job is the building and maintaining of ordnance,” said Sweat.
A 2013 El Capitan graduate and San Diego native, she is responsible for launching aircraft off of the ship.
-- Petty Officer 3rd Class Maria Bailey is a hospital corpsman. She is 2004 Kinnick High School graduate and San Diego, California native serving aboard the USS Reagan. “My job is to assist the doctors with operations, and take care of the patients after the operations,” said Bailey.
--This blog post’s fourth member of the USS Ronald Reagan is Petty Officer 1st Class Benjie Delosreyes is an aviation ordnanceman, who is in charge of the handling of weapons and ammunition carried on the aircrafts.
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