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USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76)
The USS Ronald Reagan
USS Ronald Reagan in the Straits of Magellan in 2004.
Name: USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76)
Namesake: President Ronald Reagan
Ordered: 8 December 1994
Builder: Northrop Grumman Newport News
Laid down: 12 February 1998
Launched: 4 March 2001
Sponsored by: Nancy Reagan
Commissioned: 12 July 2003
Homeport: NAS North Island Coronado, California
Motto: Peace Through Strength
Nickname: Gipper
Status: in active service, as of 2022
Badge: USS Ronald Reagan COA.png
General characteristics
Class & type: Nimitz-class aircraft carrier
Ronald Reagan subclass
Displacement: 101,400 long tons (113,600 short tons)[1]
  • Overall: 1,092 feet (332.8 m)
  • Waterline: 1,040 feet (317.0 m)
  • Overall: 252 ft (76.8 m)
  • Waterline: 134 ft (40.8 m)
  • Draft:
  • Maximum navigational: 37 feet (11.3 m)
  • Limit: 41 feet (12.5 m)
  • Propulsion:
  • 2 × Westinghouse A4W nuclear reactors
  • 4 × steam turbines
  • 4 × shafts
  • 260,000 shp (194 MW)
  • Speed: 30+ knots (56+ km/h; 35+ mph)
    Range: Unlimited distance; 20–25 years
    • Ship's company: 3,200
    • Air wing: 2,480
    Sensors and
    processing systems:
  • SPS-48E 3-D air search radar
  • SPS-49A(V)1 2-D air search radar
  • SPQ-9B fire control radar
  • 2 × SPN-46 air traffic control radars
  • SPN-43C air traffic control radar
  • SPN-41 instrument landing system radar
  • 3 × Mk 91 NSSM guidance systems
  • 3 × Mk 95 radars
  • Electronic warfare
    & decoys:
  • SLQ-32A(V)4 Countermeasures suite
  • SLQ-25A Nixie torpedo countermeasures
  • Armament: 2 × Mk 29 Sea Sparrow
    2 × RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile
    Armor: Classified
    Aircraft carried: 90 fixed wing and helicopters

    USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) is a Nimitz-class nuclear-powered supercarrier in the service of the United States Navy. The ninth ship of her class,[2] she is named in honor of former President Ronald Reagan, President of the United States from 1981 to 1989. Upon her christening in 2001, she was the first ship to be named for a former president still living at the time.

    As of May 2012 the ship is operationally part of Carrier Strike Group Nine and administratively under the command of Commander, Naval Air Forces Pacific/Commander, Naval Air Forces. The two administrative titles actually refer to one command carrying out two functions.

    Ship's seal

    The design of Ronald Reagan's seal was created entirely by her plankowner crew with historical assistance provided by staff members at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library foundation. The red border that rings the ship's seal is similar to the distinctive red rim that defines the White House china designed for the Reagans during their White House years. Four gold stars represent President Reagan's 40th presidency and his four pillars of freedom: individual liberty; economic opportunity; global democracy; and national pride. "Peace through Strength" was a recurring theme of the President's life in public service. The aircraft carrier is positioned by the West Coast, representing President Reagan's two terms as Governor of California and the ship's homeport in the Pacific Fleet. The three aircraft with their patriotic contrails symbolize the three major military operations the President directed during his tenure: Operation Urgent Fury (Grenada/1983); Operation El Dorado Canyon (Libya/1986); and Operation Praying Mantis (Iran/1988). The view of the globe signifies the President's vision of global democracy, and the center is the United States representing the country's national pride. Colors of red, white and blue dominate the seal reflecting the American flag.[3]


    Ronald Reagan was the first nuclear-powered warship of any kind to be named in honor of a living former president.[4] Unlike most of the other men honored by inclusion in this group, Reagan was not associated with the United States Navy, apart from his term as Commander-in-Chief, though one of his key initiatives in office was the 600-ship Navy program.

    Former First Lady Nancy Reagan christens USS Ronald Reagan with President George W. Bush and Newport News Shipbuilding CEO William Frick looking on, 4 March 2001

    Design and construction

    The contract to build Reagan was awarded to Northrop Grumman Newport News and Dry Dock Company in Newport News, Virginia on 8 December 1994, and her keel was laid down on 12 February 1998. The budget for the ship had to be increased several times and ultimately $4.5 billion was spent on her construction.[5] This included a redesigned ship island.[6] Reagan was christened by Reagan's wife Nancy on 4 March 2001 at Newport News Shipbuilding, the crew moved aboard on 30 October 2002,[7] and the ship was commissioned on 12 July 2003 at Naval Station Norfolk, with Captain J. W. Goodwin in command. Vice President Dick Cheney and Lynne Cheney were both present at the ceremony, as well as Nancy Reagan, who gave the ship's crew the traditional first order as an active unit of the Navy: "Man the ship and bring her to life." Ronald Reagan made her maiden voyage on 21 July 2003. President Reagan, who did not attend either the launch or the commissioning due to Alzheimer's disease, died eleven months later. At the end of the graveside services, the ship's commanding officer at that time, Captain James Symonds, presented the flag that draped the former president's casket to Mrs. Reagan at her request. This was also the flag that had flown over Capitol Hill on 20 January 1981, when the president was inaugurated. At a later date, Captain Symonds also presented Mrs. Reagan the flag that had been flying over Ronald Reagan when the former president died.

    Commissioning ceremony of USS Ronald Reagan, 2003

    Ronald Reagan conducted her maiden port visit in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, from 11–14 November 2003.

    Service history

    On 8 May 2004, following her five-month post-shakedown availability (PSA), the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan received her second flight deck certification which encompassed all flight operations, including aircraft launch and recovery, safety, crash and salvage, fuel certifications, and training.[8] Reagan then began her transit from Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, around Cape Horn, South America, to her new homeport of Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego.

    Carrier Air Wing Eleven, normally assigned to the USS Nimitz, embarked only 25 percent of its total strength for the transit. The squadrons making the transit were VFA-14 and VFA-41 flying the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, VAW-117 flying the E-2C Hawkeye 2000, HS-6 flying the SH-60F Seahawk and VRC-30 flying the C-2A Greyhound. The ship transited the Strait of Magellan on 20–21 June and made port visits to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Valparaíso, Chile, and Callao, Peru before arriving in San Diego on 23 July 2004.

    On June 5, 2004 during the transit, the ship's namesake Ronald Reagan died. From 1 October 2004, Reagan was assigned to Carrier Strike Group Fifteen.

    Gringo-Gaucho maneuvers with the Argentine Navy during 2004 transit around South America

    2006 maiden deployment

    USS Ronald Reagan departed San Diego on 4 January 2006, on her maiden deployment to conduct naval operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, as well as to conduct maritime security operations (MSO) in the Persian Gulf. On 28 January 2006, an F/A-18 Hornet strike fighter attempting a night landing aboard Reagan crashed into the ship's flight deck about 200 km (120 miles) southeast of Brisbane, Queensland. The aircraft struck the ramp at a low angle, caught fire and skidded overboard. The pilot ejected safely, but the aircraft was lost.[9][10] The ship entered the Gulf on 22 February 2006, and returned from deployment on 6 July 2006.[11][12]

    2007 surge deployment

    USS Ronald Reagan and the Reagan Carrier Strike Group (CSG) departed North Island, Coronado in San Diego on 27 January 2007 on an unscheduled surge deployment[13] to the Western Pacific, fulfilling the role of the forward deployed carrier Kitty Hawk while it underwent maintenance in Japan. On 20 April 2007, Ronald Reagan and her CSG returned to Coronado. The "surge deployment" was part of the Navy's Fleet Response Plan (FRP), which provides the U.S. with the ability to respond to any global commitment with flexible and sustainable forces and the ability to rapidly respond to a range of situations on short notice.

    In January 2007, it was announced that Ronald Reagan had earned the 2006 Commander, Naval Air Forces Pacific Carrier Battle Efficiency "E" award for the West Coast, the first Battle "E" ever for the carrier.[14]

    Reagan returned to Naval Air Station North Island on 20 April 2007, following the three-month deployment in support of operations in the Western Pacific.

    USS Ronald Reagan conducts rudder checks in October 2007, as part of the ship's periodic inspection

    On 15 December 2007, the carrier answered a distress call from a cruise ship off the coast of Baja California. An Illinois teenager whose appendix had ruptured while on a Mexican cruise was airlifted by an SH-60 helicopter to Ronald Reagan, where an emergency appendectomy was performed by the ship's surgeon.[15]

    2008 deployment

    USS Ronald Reagan, with CVW-14 embarked, departed San Diego on 19 May 2008, for a scheduled 7th Fleet and 5th Fleet deployment.

    The Reagan Carrier Strike Group performed humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations in the Philippines on 24 June 2008 after that country was devastated by Typhoon Fengshen, killing hundreds from the central island regions and the main island of Luzon. The typhoon also capsized the passenger ferry MV Princess of the Stars.[16] Working in support of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Reagan and her escorts of Carrier Strike Group 7 focused their efforts on the island of Panay in the Central Visayas. For eight days, SH-60 Seahawk helicopters and C-2A Greyhound aircraft of the Ronald Reagan Strike Group helped deliver more than 519,000 lbs. of rice, fresh water and other supplies to areas of Panay, which were not reachable via truck due to flooded roads. The mission in Panay would earn the entire strike group the Navy's Humanitarian Service Medal.

    The Strike Group arrived in the U.S. Fifth Fleet area on 28 August 2008, where she launched more than 1,150 sorties into Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Reagan returned to San Diego on 25 November 2008.

    Sailors and their families await a small arms demo during Tiger Cruise 2008.

    USS Ronald Reagan received word in February 2009 that the ship had won its second Battle Effectiveness Award.[17]

    2009 deployment

    Members of a U.S. Navy rifle detail march to their designated spots for a burial-at-sea ceremony aboard the supercarrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) underway in the Pacific Ocean on 9 June 2009.

    On 28 May 2009, Reagan deployed with Carrier Air Wing 14 to the 7th and 5th Fleet Areas of Responsibility.[18] Reagan relieved the Eisenhower CSG and launched its first sorties in support of OEF on 6 July. Reagan returned to homeport on 21 October after a five-month deployment.[19]


    In early 2010, Reagan was awarded the 2009 Chief of Naval Operations Afloat Safety "S" Award.[20] and the 2009 Pacific Fleet Battle "E" for combat efficiency. The Battle "E" award was Reagan's second consecutive and third in four years.[21]

    2010 PIA maintenance (6 May 2010)

    On 19 May 2010, Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) completed the six-month Planned Incremental Availability (PIA) maintenance cycle on the Reagan. This PIA project came in under budget, and it marked both Norfolk Naval Shipyard's largest off-site availability as well as the largest public sector work package ever performed on an aircraft carrier berthed at Naval Air Station North Island (NASNI) located near Coronado, California (pictured).[22] During the maintenance period, Ronald Reagan received technological upgrades that prepared it for its next deployment and subsequent operations. Refurbishments included hi-tech combat systems and firefighting equipment to improved ship's laundry services and living spaces.[23]

    This PIA maintenance project was an example of the 'One Shipyard' concept wherein the U.S. Navy mobilizes its work force across its various shipyards to better meet fleet readiness requirements as well as to stabilize a vital workforce base for the U.S. defense industry. While Norfolk Naval Shipyard was the project lead, significant work was done by its partners:

    • Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PSNS & IMF)
    • Southwest Regional Maintenance Center (SWRMC)
    • Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding (NGSB).

    During peak manning, approximately 1,400 worked the project on a daily basis. This included approximately 625 NNSY personnel, 165 PSNS & IMF employees, and 600 from SWRMC/NGSB.[22]

    On 18 May 2010, the Reagan departed Naval Air Station North Island for sea trials.[23][24][25] The sea trial was the final phase of the PIA, and it was conducted to assess the Reagan's material readiness to return to the operational fleet.[23] The Reagan pulled into Naval Air Station North Island on 19 May 2010 after completing its two-day sea trial, marking the official end to its six-month planned incremental availability (PIA) maintenance period.[23]

    On 2 June 2010, the Reagan, with Carrier Air Wing Fourteen (CVW-14) embarked, departed Naval Air Station North Island to conduct flight deck certifications.[25][26] The first CVW-14 aircraft to land on the Reagan's flight deck was from Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 4 (HS-2).[26] Other embarked squadrons included:

    The certification included a full evaluation of the arresting gear, steam catapults, and flight deck personnel. The Reagan's air department was assessed on its ability to maintain a fully operational flight deck and respond to simulated mishaps.[26]

    The Reagan participated in Exercise RIMPAC during the summer of 2010.

    The Reagan departed from Naval Air Station North Island, California, for a Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) assessment on 25 August 2010, and Reagan departed its homeport to conduct routine operations off the coast of southern California in preparation for its 2011 Western Pacific (WESTPAC) deployment.[25]

    In November 2010, Reagan provided emergency supplies and assistance to passengers stranded aboard the Carnival Splendor, which was rendered inoperable in the Pacific Ocean by an engine fire.[27]


    USS Ronald Reagan returning to San Diego Bay after a deployment, 2011

    The ship departed for an Asian deployment on 2 February 2011. On 11 March 2011, Reagan was in the Korean peninsula region for a long-planned exercise off Korea, but was redirected towards Japan to provide support after the massive 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. The ship, stationed off Sendai, was used as a floating refueling station for Japanese military and coast guard helicopters flying relief missions in the area.[28] US Navy helicopters also flew relief missions from the carrier. On 14 March 2011, the ship was forced to relocate to avoid a radioactive plume from the Fukushima I nuclear accidents which had contaminated 17 crewmembers of three helicopter crews.[29] On 23 March, the Reagan's crew conducted a radiation decontamination operation to remove any further radiation hazards from the ship, which included scrubbing down any surface that could have been contaminated, including the flight deck and aircraft.[30]

    On 4 April 2011, Japan's minister of defense, Toshimi Kitazawa, accompanied by US ambassador to Japan John Roos, visited the ship to thank its crew for its assistance as part of Operation Tomodachi. Said Kitazawa, "I have never been more encouraged by and proud of the fact that the United States is our ally."[31]

    The ship returned to San Diego on 9 September 2011.[32]

    In January 2011, the Navy announced that the USS Ronald Reagan would be transferred to the Puget Sound Naval Ship Yard in Bremerton, WA for a Docked Planned Incremental Availability beginning in January 2012 and was there for a little over a year. Thus the official home port was changed to Bremerton, Washington beginning on 10 Jan 2012 while the ship underwent scheduled repair and maintenance.[33] The ship returned to its home port of San Diego on 21 March 2013.[34]

    Commanding officers

    Captain James A. Symonds, right, turns over command to Captain Terry B. Kraft (November 2005)

    • John William "Bill" Goodwin – November 2000 – 28 August 2003
    • James A. Symonds — 28 August 2003 – 17 November 2005[35]
    • Terry B. Kraft — 17 November 2005 – 2 May 2008[36]
    • Kenneth Joseph "KJ" Norton – 2 May 2008 – August 2010
    • Thom W. Burke – August 2010 – August 2013[37]
    • Christopher E. Bolt – August 2013 – present[38]


    Click on the thumbnail to enlarge.

    See also


    1. Polmar, Norman (2004). The Naval Institute guide to the ships and aircraft of the U.S. fleet. Naval Institute Press. p. 112. ISBN 978-1-59114-685-8. 
    2. "USS Ronald Reagan Departs on Third Deployment". United States Navy. 20 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-24. 
    4. "USS Ronald Reagan Commemorates Former President's 90th Birthday". CNN. 4 March 2001. Retrieved 2008-01-24. 
    5. CVN-76 Ronald Reagan
    6. "Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) Christening: Advanced Media Kit". Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding. Retrieved 27 December 2009. 
    7. Boyle, Scott (2 November 2002). "Another Milestone Passed on Road to Commissioning". U.S. Navy. Retrieved 2011-03-19. 
    8. Journalist 2nd Class Shane Tuck, USN (12 May 2004). "USS Ronald Reagan Certified Battle Ready". NNS040512-07. USS Ronald Reagan Public Affairs. Retrieved 2011-01-09. 
    9. "US jet crashes off Queensland". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 30 January 2006. Archived from the original on 2006-11-07. Retrieved 2007-04-19. 
    10. "F-18 Crash video". United States Navy. 28 January 2006. Retrieved 2009-02-08. 
    11. "USS Ronald Reagan Departs on Maiden Deployment". U.S. Navy. 4 January 2006. Retrieved 2011-03-19. 
    12. "Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group Returns Following 6-Month Deployment". U.S. Navy. 6 July 2006. Retrieved 2011-03-19. 
    13. "Ronald Reagan Strike Group Departs San Diego on Surge Deployment". USS Ronald Reagan Public Affairs. 27 January 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-19. 
    14. "Ronald Reagan Awarded First Battle "E"". U.S. Navy. 28 February 2007. Retrieved 2011-03-19. 
    15. Burst appendix spurs Navy cruise rescue – Yahoo! News
    16. GMA NEWS.TV, US ship coming to help retrieve victims of sea tragedy
    17. Carlstrom, Kyle (22 February 2009). "USS Ronald Reagan Wins Second Battle E". U.S. Navy. Retrieved 2011-03-19. 
    18. USS Ronald Reagan Deploys.
    19. Neely, Frank E. (23 October 2009). "Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group Returns Home". U.S. Navy. Retrieved 2011-03-19. 
    20. Tidd, Alex (8 April 2010). "Ronald Reagan Wins CNO Safety Award". U.S. Navy. Retrieved 2011-03-19. 
    21. Brotzman, Briana C. (11 February 2010). "USS Ronald Reagan Wins Third Battle "E" Award". U.S. Navy. Retrieved 2011-03-19. 
    22. 22.0 22.1 "Norfolk Naval Shipyard Completes CVN 76's Planned Incremental Availability". NNS100520-1. Norfolk Naval Shipyard Public Affairs. 20 May 2010. Retrieved 2011-12-28. 
    23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 Lee, MCS2 (SW/AW) Torrey W. (21 May 2010). "Ronald Reagan Ready for Sea After Successful Sea Trials". NNS100521-03. USS Ronald Reagan Public Affairs. 
    24. "USS Ronald Reagan Underway for Sea Trials". NNS100518-06. USS Ronald Reagan Public Affairs. 18 May 2010. Retrieved 2011-12-28. 
    25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 "2010 History". USS Ronald Reagan CVN-76. 16 November 2011. Retrieved 2012-12-28. 
    26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Torrey W. Lee, USN (3 June 2010). "Ronald Reagan Begins Flight Deck Certification". NNS100603-15. USS Ronald Reagan Public Affairs. Retrieved 2011-12-28. 
    27. Vercammen, Paul (11 November 2010). "Crippled cruise ship expected in San Diego on Thursday". CNN. Retrieved 11 November 2010. 
    28. King, Laura, Mark Magnier and Barbara Demick, "Japan Faces Soaring Number Of Feared Dead", Los Angeles Times, 13 March 2011.
    29. Stewart, Joshua."Navy ships off Japan move to avoid radiation," Japan Times, 14 March 2011. Retrieved 15 March 2011.[dead link]
    30. Ronald Reagan crew scrubs ship to eliminate radioactive contamination
    31. Kyodo News, "Japanese defense chief thanks U.S. military for humanitarian efforts", 4 April 2011.
    32. Kovach, Gretel C., "Carrier Ronald Reagan Due Home After Eventful Deployment", San Diego Union-Tribune, 9 September 2011.
    33. "USS Ronald Reagan Coming to Bremerton in 2012". Retrieved 2012-08-17. 
    34. "USS Ronald Reagan returns to San Diego after more than a year in Washington state". Retrieved 2013-03-21. 
    35. "Rear Admiral James A. Symonds". U.S. Navy. 5 September 2007. Retrieved 2011-03-19. 
    36. "Norton Relieves Kraft as Ronald Reagan Commanding Officer". U.S. Navy. 3 May 2008. Retrieved 2011-03-19. 
    37. "Ronald Reagan Welcomes New Commander". U.S. Navy. 13 August 2010. Retrieved 2011-03-19. 
    38. "USS Ronald Reagan Conducts Change of Command: Capt. Christopher E. Bolt Relieved Capt. Thom W. Burke". 13 August 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-30. 

    External links

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