USS Ronald Reagan CVN 76 History

USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) is a Nimitz-classnuclear-powered supercarrier in the service of the United States Navy.

USS Ronald Reagan is
The ninth ship of her class,she is named in honor of former President Ronald Reagan, .Upon her christening in 2001, she was the first ship to be named for a former president still living at the time.

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.

$4.5 billion was spent on her construction. This included a redesigned ship island. Reagan was christened by Reagan’s wife Nancy on 4 March 2001 at Newport News Shipbuilding, the crew moved aboard on 30 October 2002,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, 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 overRonald Reagan when the former president died.


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. USS Ronald Reagan CVN 76 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, California. 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. From October 1, 2004, Reagan was assigned to Carrier Strike Group Fifteen.

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 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.The ship entered the Gulf on 22 February 2006, and returned from deployment on 6 July 2006.

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 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 Force, Pacific Carrier Battle Efficiency “E” award for the West Coast, the first Battle ”E” ever for the carrier.

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, 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.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.USS Ronald Reagan received ward in February 2009 that the ship had won its second Battle Effectiveness Award.On May 28, 2009, Reagan deployed with Carrier Air Wing 14 to the 7th and 5th Fleet Areas of Responsibility. 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.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.

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 aircraft carrier Ronald 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.

During the maintenance period, Ronald Reagan received technological upgrades that prepared it for its next deployment and subsequent operation. Refurbishments ranged from hi-tech combat systems and firefighting equipment to improved ship’s laundry services and living spaces.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 was done by its partners, which were:
  • 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. On 18 May 2010, the carrier Ronald Reagan departed Naval Air Station North Island for sea trials. 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.

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

  • Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 323 (VMFA-323)
  • Strike Fighter Squadron 154 (VFA-154)
  • Strike Fighter Squadron 147 (VFA-147)
  • Strike Fighter Squadron 146 (VFA-146)
  • Airborne Early Warning Squadron 113 (VAW-113)
  • Fleet Logistics Squadron 30 (VRC-30)

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.

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

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 Tohoku 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 crew members of three helicopter crews. On March 23, 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.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”.

The ship returned to San Diego on 9 September 2011.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 would be based there for about a year. Thus the official home port has been changed to Bremerton, Washington for a period of approximately 12 months to begin Jan. 10, 2012 while the ship undergoes scheduled repair and maintenance.

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
  • Terry B. Kraft — 17 November 2005 – 2 May 2008
  • Kenneth Joseph “KJ” Norton – 2 May 2008 – August 2010
  • Thom W. Burke – August 2010 – present

USS Ronald Reagan CVN 76 facts:

Class and type: Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, Ronald Reagan subclass
Displacement: 101,400 long tons (113,600 short tons)[1]
Length: Overall: 1,092 feet (332.8 m)
Waterline: 1,040 feet (317.0 m)
Beam: Overall: 252 ft (76.8 m)
Waterline: 134 ft (40.8 m)
Draft: Maximum navigational: 37 ft (11.3 m)
Limit: 41 ft (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
Complement: 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
and 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
Motto: Peace Through Strength
Nickname: Gipper