Three U.S. Navy carrier strike groups are operating alongside one another in the Western Pacific through November 14th, 2017. The USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76), USS Nimitz (CVN-68), and the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), along with the Japanese helicopter carrier Ise and its destroyer escorts, are training to work cooperatively as a single punishing force. You can read all about this exercise and its strategic implications on the region in this past War Zone article, but now we have what so many of us have been waiting for, some awesome photos and video from the photo exercise (PHOTOEX) to commemorate the rare event.
U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander, Admiral Scott Swift stated the following about the rare training opportunity:
"It is a rare opportunity to train with two aircraft carriers together, and even rarer to be able to train with three... Multiple carrier strike force operations are very complex, and this exercise in the Western Pacific is a strong testament to the U.S. Pacific Fleet's unique ability and ironclad commitment to the continued security and stability of the region."
The last time three carrier strike groups were operating together in the Western Pacific was exercise Valiant Shield 2007, which took place near Guam. And that training event didn't have the possibility of war with North Korea hanging over it. So who knows, it may be another decade until you get to see something like this again, so take it all in.
On a side note, it really is too bad they didn't get the submarines to surface for this PHOTOEX, but then again, considering where they are operating and how prominent this exercise is, they were probably keeping close tabs on underwater "spectators."
Update 1:05am PST:
These beauties just popped up from Pacific Air Forces, enjoy!
Update 11:16 am PST:
Update 4:45pm PST:
We finally have video from the ships of the flyover.
Contact the author: Tyler@thedrive.com