Story by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Susan Damman
SOUTH CHINA SEA – USS Stockdale (DDG 106) is conducting a routine patrol in international waters of the South China Sea as part of the John C. Stennis Strike Group and Great Green Fleet on a regularly scheduled 7th Fleet deployment.
“The strike group is exercising our right to operate in international waters,” said Rear Adm. Ron Boxall, commander, John C. Stennis Strike Group. “Our presence here promotes peace and stability in the region. We’ve got vibrant economies in the Western Pacific, and it’s really important for us to be there for our national interests and to ensure that we can keep the sea lanes free.”
In recent months, other U.S. Navy ships have conducted similar operations in the 7th Fleet area of operations including the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54), USS Lassen (DDG 82), USS McCampbell (DDG 85) and USS Preble (DDG 88), the multi-purpose amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2), the Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) and the Freedom-class littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3). The amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48) completed a similar patrol, Feb. 26.
Stockdale is currently on patrol in 7th Fleet as part of the John C. Stennis Strike Group (JCSSG). The strike group is comprised of USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) with Carrier Airwing (CVW) 9 and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 21 embarked, Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93), USS Stockdale (DDG 106), USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110) and Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53).
CVW-9 consists of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 71, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 14, Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 112, Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 133 and Strike Fighter Squadrons (VFA) 151, 97, 41, 14.
JCSSG is providing a ready force supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific.