Three aircraft carriers stage drills in western Pacific

Three U.S. aircraft carriers are set to stage drills in the western Pacific in a show of force that coincides with President Trump's travel to the region.

For the first time in a decade, three Navy carrier strike groups will conduct a joint exercise in the western Pacific as President Donald Trump wraps up a multi-country Asia visit this week.

The carrier Ronald Reagan is permanently based in Japan as part of 7th Fleet, and it was joined recently in the command’s waters by the carriers Theodore Roosevelt and Nimitz, with their armada of warships and aircraft in tow.

Navy officials said the two carriers steaming into 7th Fleet as Trump was visiting the region was a coincidence of planning.

Regardless of whether such high-powered optics were coordinated with the president’s visit, the display of U.S. power comes during continued tensions with North Korea over the rogue nation’s ballistic missile testing.

The exercise will involve “coordinated operations in international waters in order to demonstrate the U.S. Navy’s unique capability to operate multiple carrier strikes groups as a coordinated strike force effort,” a Navy release states.

Planned activities include air defense drills, sea surveillance, replenishments at sea, defense air combat training and close-in coordinated maneuvers, among other exercises.

070814-N-6106R-148 PACIFIC OCEAN (Aug.14, 2007) - USS Nimitz (CVN 68), USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) and USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) Carrier Strike Groups transit in formation during a joint photo exercise (PHOTOEX) during exercise Valiant Shield 2007. The aerial formation consists of aircraft from the carrier strike groups as well as Air Force aircraft. The strike groups are participating in Valiant Shield 2007, the largest joint exercise in the Pacific this year. Held in the Guam operating area, the exercise includes 30 ships, more than 280 aircraft and more than 20,000 service members from the Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Stephen W. Rowe (RELEASED)
070814-N-6106R-148 PACIFIC OCEAN (Aug.14, 2007) - USS Nimitz (CVN 68), USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) and USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) Carrier Strike Groups transit in formation during a joint photo exercise (PHOTOEX) during exercise Valiant Shield 2007. The aerial formation consists of aircraft from the carrier strike groups as well as Air Force aircraft. The strike groups are participating in Valiant Shield 2007, the largest joint exercise in the Pacific this year. Held in the Guam operating area, the exercise includes 30 ships, more than 280 aircraft and more than 20,000 service members from the Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Stephen W. Rowe (RELEASED)