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Ship's History

Flight Deck of USS Ronald Reagan

Construction of the ninth Nimitz class ship took place at Northrop Grumman Newport News, Va., starting with the ship's keel laying February 12, 1998, and christened by Mrs. Nancy Reagan on March 4, 2001. USS Ronald Reagan was commissioned during an 11 a.m. ceremony at Norfolk Naval Station on July 12, 2003. Vice President Richard Cheney delivered the ceremony's principal address while Nancy Reagan, wife of the ship's namesake, served as the ship's sponsor. On May 27, 2004 USS Ronald Reagan departed Naval Station Norfolk to circumnavigate South America on its way to its new homeport of San Diego.

USS Ronald Reagan departed San Diego on January 4, 2006 for her maiden deployment to conduct naval operations in support of the Global War on Terrorism. This included supporting the missions Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. By May 29, USS Ronald Reagan and Carrier Air Wing Fourteen concluded military operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations. CVW 14 launched more than 6,100 sorties, totaling more than 19,600 flight hours, more than 2,940 sorties and 14,200 flight hours have been in direct support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. On January 27, 2007 USS Ronald Reagan departed San Diego for a surge deployment in the western Pacific, under the Navy's Fleet Response Plan (FRP), while USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) undergoes scheduled maintenance in Yokosuka, Japan. This is the same year the ship was awarded the 2006 Battle “E” for Pacific Fleet Carriers. USS Ronald Reagan, commanded by Capt. Kenneth J. Norton, departed Naval Air Station North Island on May 19, 2008 for deployment to the 5th and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility. A month later, USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group and USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50) arrived off the coast of Philippines to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to victims of the Typhoon Fengshen and to help in salvage operations for the ill-fated MV Princess of the Stars. The 24,000-tonne ferry was carrying 864 passengers and crew when it sank off Sibuyan Island, 300 kilometers south of Manila, at the height of a typhoon. By November, USS Ronald Reagan returned to San Diego after a six-month deployment. The aircraft from CVW-14 launched more than 1150 sorties in support of ground forces in southern Afghanistan. Once again, May 28, 2009 USS Ronald Reagan departed homeport for a scheduled western Pacific and Middle East deployment. This year, the ship won its second Battle “E” for 2008 by outperforming all the Pacific Fleet Carriers. After completing a five month underway in October, the aircraft carrier completed operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet launching more than 1,600 sorties in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. She departed homeport June 2, 2010 to conduct flight deck certification with the CVW-14 and also won its 3rd Battle “E” for combat efficiency in a four year period.

On June 9, The Reagan anchored in the approach to Esquimalt harbor, near Victoria, British Columbia, to participate in the Canadian Naval Centennial Pacific Fleet Review, commemorating the 100th birthday of the Canadian Navy. USS Sampson (DDG 102), USS Chosin (CG 65) and USS Ford (FFG 54) were also participating. USS Ronald Reagan departed San Diego again on June 16 after picking up members from CVW-14, to conduct Tailored Ships Training Availability (TSTA) and to participate in biennial exercise Rim of the Pacific 2010, off the coast of Hawaii. The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier arrived in Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on 28 June for the first (in port) phase of 22nd RIMPAC. Thirty-two ships, five submarines, more than 170 aircraft and 20,000 personnel were participating. The RIMPAC exercise allowed Reagan to test its Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) launcher weapons system for the first time since 2007. On November 9 while under way for Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) off the West Coast, CVN 76 was diverted to a position south, to facilitate the delivery of needed supplies to the C/V Splendor. The Carnival cruise ship reported it was dead in the water, 150 nautical miles southwest of San Diego, and requested assistance from the Coast Guard. February 2, 2011 USS Ronald Reagan CSG departed San Diego for a scheduled deployment in the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet Areas. On March 11, USS Ronald Reagan CSG, USS Essex (LHD 2), USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), USS Germantown (LSD 42) and USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) were ordered to head to Japan and render disaster relief, if called upon, in the wake of a catastrophic magnitude 9.0 earthquake that left thousands dead. Two days later CVN 76 arrived on station off the east coast of Honshu to serve as an afloat platform for refueling Japan Self Defense Force and other helicopters involved in rescue and recovery efforts ashore. By September USS Ronald Reagan returned to San Diego after a seven-month deployment.

USS Ronald Reagan departed San Diego on January 6, 2012 for a 12-month, $210 million worth, Docking Planned Incremental Availability (DPIA) at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PSNS&IMF) in Bremerton, WA. In March 2013, she completed her availability and made her way back home to San Diego, CA. Upon Returning to San Diego USS Ronald Reagan entered Her Training and Qualification Cycle. In October 2013 she was named the Surge Carrier ready to respond to any call.

In August 2015, USS Ronald Reagan departed San Diego as the Forward Deployed Naval Force (FDNF) replacement for USS George Washington (CVN 73) in Yokosuka, Japan.

President Ronald Reagan

President Ronald Reagan

Ronald Wilson Reagan (February 6, 1911 – June 5, 2004) was an American politician and actor who served as the 40th President of the United States from 1981 to 1989. Prior to the presidency, he was a Hollywood actor and union leader before serving as the 33rd Governor of California from 1967 to 1975.

Reagan was raised in a poor family in small towns of northern Illinois. He graduated from Eureka College in 1932 and worked as a sports announcer on several regional radio stations. After moving to Hollywood in 1937, he became an actor and starred in a few major productions. Reagan was twice elected President of the Screen Actors Guild, the labor union for actors, where he worked to root out Communist influence. In the 1950s, he moved into television and was a motivational speaker at General Electric factories. He was elected Governor of California in 1966. As governor, Reagan raised taxes, turned a state budget deficit to a surplus, challenged the protesters at the University of California, ordered in National Guard troops during a period of protest movements in 1969, and was re-elected in 1970. He twice ran unsuccessfully for the Republican presidential nomination, in 1968 and 1976. Four years later in 1980, he won the nomination. At 69 years, 349 days of age at the time of his inauguration, he became the oldest president-elect to take the oath of office. Reagan faced former vice president Walter Mondale when he ran for re-election in 1984, and defeated him in a landslide with the largest electoral college victory in American history.

Soon after taking office, Reagan began implementing sweeping new political and economic initiatives. His supply-side economic policies, dubbed "Reaganomics", advocated tax rate reduction to spur economic growth, economic deregulation, and reduction in government spending. In his first term he survived an assassination attempt, spurred the War on Drugs, and fought public sector labor. Over his two terms, the economy saw a reduction of inflation from 12.5% to 4.4%, and an average annual growth of real GDP of 3.4%. Reagan enacted cuts in domestic discretionary spending, cut taxes, and increased military spending contributed to increased federal outlays overall, even after adjustment for inflation. Foreign affairs dominated his second term, including ending the Cold War, the bombing of Libya, and the Iran–Contra affair. In June 1987, four years after he publicly described the Soviet Union as an "evil empire", Reagan challenged Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev to "tear down this wall!", during a speech at the Brandenburg Gate. He transitioned Cold War policy from détente to rollback by escalating an arms race with the USSR while engaging in talks with Gorbachev. The talks culminated in the INF Treaty, which shrank both countries' nuclear arsenals. Reagan began his presidency during the decline of the Soviet Union, and the Berlin Wall fell just ten months after the end of his term. Germany reunified the following year, and on December 26, 1991 (nearly three years after he left office), the Soviet Union collapsed.

When Reagan left office in 1989, he held an approval rating of sixty-eight percent. He was the first president since Dwight D. Eisenhower to serve two full terms, after a succession of five prior presidents did not. Although he had planned an active post-presidency, Reagan disclosed in November 1994 that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease earlier that year. Afterward, his informal public appearances became more infrequent as the disease progressed. He died at home on June 5, 2004. An icon among Republicans.