March 12, 2011 / 9:58 PM / 7 years ago

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

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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