Factbox: U.S. Navy ships joining Japan relief effort

WASHINGTON Sat Mar 12, 2011 4:57pm EST

The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan underway in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility in the Pacific Ocean in this U.S. Navy handout photo dated March 12, 2011. REUTERS/US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dylan McCord/Handout

The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan underway in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility in the Pacific Ocean in this U.S. Navy handout photo dated March 12, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dylan McCord/Handout

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan arrived in Japan at 1 p.m. EST on Saturday to assist relief efforts after Japan's massive earthquake and tsunami.

It is part of a large mobilization of American naval forces in the Pacific to aid Japan, with more ships due to arrive in the coming days.

Here are the latest details, as provided by the U.S. military. All times are local to Japan.

* The USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group, which includes the cruiser USS Chancellorsville, the destroyer USS Preble and the combat support ship USNS Bridge, is en route to the east coast of Japan's main island of Honshu and expected to arrive on Sunday.

* The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan is already off the coast of Japan and prepared to serve as an afloat platform for refueling Japan Self Defense Force (JSDF) and other helicopters involved in rescue and recovery efforts ashore. It will also help transport JSDF troops to affected areas. The USS Ronald Reagan has a 3,200 Navy crew as well as 2,480 aviators and air wing personnel and approximately 85 planes.

* The destroyers USS McCampbell and USS Curtis Wilbur are already at sea east of Japan's Boso Peninsula preparing to move into position off Miyagi Prefecture to assist Japanese authorities with at-sea search and rescue and recovery operations. An additional destroyer, USS Mustin, will depart Yokosuka, Japan on Sunday.

* USS Tortuga, an amphibious dock landing ship, departed Sasebo, Japan on March 11 and is anchored off Pohang, South Korea to load two heavy-lift MH-53 helicopters. The ship will proceed to the east coast of Honshu and is expected to arrive around Monday.

* USS Essex, a large amphibious assault ship, had just arrived in Malaysia when the tsunami hit. It got underway on Saturday en route to the east coast of Honshu and is expected to arrive around March 17.

* USS Blue Ridge, the U.S. Seventh Fleet command ship which the Navy describes as "the most capable command ship ever built," had just arrived in Singapore when the tsunami hit. It immediately changed its focus to loading humanitarian assistance/disaster relief equipment. It departed Singapore on Saturday en route to the east coast of Honshu and is expected to arrive around March 18.

* USS Harpers Ferry, a dock landing ship based in Sasebo, and the USS Germantown, an amphibious dock landing ship home-ported in San Diego, California, have been redirected to Japan from locations in Southeast Asia. Both were described as several days away.

(Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Paul Simao)

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Comments (4)
Barbarian7 wrote:
Sending all this naval assistance into Japan waters may not be that practical in light of the Arab League’s decision today to promote a no-fly zone through the United Nations and NATO in the Mediterranean.
There are not enough carriers to go around, if the USS Enterprise has to be relieved of Somali pirate duty and passes through the Suez Canal, that leaves the USS Carl Vinson on double duty in the Persian Gulf-Read Sea AOR. It is unwise militarily to commit a large part of the US carrier fleet to earthquake mop-up duty.

Mar 12, 2011 5:19pm EST  --  Report as abuse
djlowballer wrote:
Why is it unwise? Aircraft carriers are a floating city of resources which can be leveraged to save lives. Japan is a close ally and their country has been severely damaged. Part of being an ally is helping out all of the time. It is why every nation is sending troops, rescue teams, and resources.

Mar 13, 2011 1:59am EST  --  Report as abuse
harvwald wrote:
“Earthquake mop-up duty”? Is that what you call it when 10,000 or more people may have been killed and the country is in a state of disaster? Unwise? Perhaps, as you see it. But it would be immoral to do anything less than the assistance being offered.

Mar 13, 2011 9:20am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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