USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76)

USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76)

USS "Ronald Reagan" (CVN-76) is a "Nimitz"-class nuclear-powered supercarrier in the service of the United States Navy. The ninth ship of her class, and the Navy's newest aircraft carrier, [cite news|url=|title=USS Ronald Reagan Departs on Third Deployment|date=20 May 2008|accessdate=2008-06-24|publisher=United States Navy] she is named in honor of former President Ronald Reagan.

Building, christening, and commissioning

Livingships The "Ronald Reagan" was the first aircraft carrier to be named in honor of a living former president. [cite news|publisher=CNN|title=USS "Ronald Reagan" Commemorates Former President's 90th Birthday|url=|date=4 March 2001|accessdate=2008-01-24] Unlike most of the other men honored by inclusion in this group, Reagan was not associated with the United States Navy apart from his term as Commander-in-Chief, though one of his key initiatives in office was the 600-ship Navy program.

The contract to build the "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. The budget for the ship had to be increased several times and ultimately $4.5 billion was spent on its construction. [ [ CVN-76 Ronald Reagan ] ] She was launched on 4 March 2001, christened by Reagan's wife Nancy the same day, and commissioned on 12 July 2003, 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. Mementoes were released on the occasion, including Ty Inc.'s commemorative beanie baby named the "USS Ronnie Ty" in honor of the commissioning. [ [ USS Ronnie Ty Bear ] ]

President Reagan, who 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, Rear Admiral 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, Admiral Symonds also presented Mrs. Reagan the flag that had been flying over "Ronald Reagan" when the former president died.


"Ronald Reagan" displaces approximately 95,000 tons of water fully loaded, has a top speed of over convert|30|kn|km/h, powered by two nuclear reactors driving four screws, and can sail for over 20 years before needing to refuel. [US Navy Aircraft Carrier Page] She is nearly as long as the Empire State Building is tall [cite news |first=Clark |last=Judge |title=Chargers find whole new meaning for 'carrier' |url= |work=CBS |publisher=CBS |date=2006-08-11 |accessdate=2007-04-19] at 1,092 feet (333 m) and is 134 feet (41 m) wide at the beam and has a flight deck 252 feet (77 m) wide. The flight deck covers over 4.5 acres (18,000 m²). She carries more than 5,500 sailors and over 80 aircraft. The ship is the winner of the 2006 Battle "E" for West Coast carriers. [ [ Ronald Reagan Awarded First Battle "E" ] ]

In the news

During her transfer from the Atlantic to the Pacific, she transited the Straits of Magellan. In 2006, an Iranian UAV overflew the carrier for 25 minutes before returning safely to its base. [ [ 5 minutes video] ] [RIAN, [ Iranian drone plane buzzes U.S. aircraft carrier in Persian Gulf] , 30 May 2006] [ [ Iran Uses UAV To Watch US Aircraft Carrier On Gulf Patrol ] ]

On 29 January 2006, an F/A-18 Hornet strike fighter attempting a night landing aboard "Reagan" crashed into the ocean about 200 km (120 miles) southeast of Brisbane, Australia. There was no damage to the ship and the pilot ejected safely, but the aircraft was lost. [cite news |title=US jet crashes off Queensland |url= |publisher=Australian Broadcasting Corporation |date=2006-01-30 |accessdate=2007-04-19] [cite news |title=U.S. fighter jet crashes into the sea off Australia's east coast |url= | |date=2006-01-29 |accessdate=2007-04-19]

On 6 July 2006, the "Ronald Reagan" returned to Coronado from her maiden voyage, where she conducted operations in support of the continuing war on terror. 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 [cite press release |title=Ronald Reagan Strike Group Departs San Diego on Surge Deployment |publisher=USS Ronald Reagan Public Affairs |date=2007-01-27 |url= |accessdate=2007-04-19] to the Western Pacific, fulfilling the role of the forward deployed carrier "Kitty Hawk" while it underwent of maintenance in Japan. On 20 April 2007, USS "Ronald Reagan" (CVN 76) and her CSG returned to Coronado.

A sailor from the "Ronald Reagan", Jarrod Fowler, appeared on the popular television contest "American Idol", but was eliminated in the second round.The "Reagan" had held a "Reagan Idol" Contest, which Fowler won, and his name was submitted to the show. Fowler received a letter from Nancy Reagan congratulating him on his performance.cite web |url=|title= Jarrod Fowler | accessdate=2007-04-21]

On 7 November 2005, Captain Terry B. Kraft relieved Captain James A. Symonds as Commanding Officer. Captain Kenneth J. Norton became the fourth commanding officer on 2 May 2008 when he relieved Captain Terry Kraft in a ceremony aboard the ship, moored pier side at Naval Air Station North Island in Coronado, Calif. The current Executive Officer is Captain Kevin J. Couch.

On 15 December 2007, the carrier answered a distress call from a cruise ship off the coast of Baja California. A teenager whose appendix had ruptured while on a Mexican cruise was airlifted by an SH-60 helicopter to the "Ronald Reagan", where an emergency appendectomy was performed by the ship's surgeon. [ [ Burst appendix spurs Navy cruise rescue - Yahoo! News ] ]

On 19 May 2008, the carrier and its strike group departed Naval Air Station North Island for a scheduled deployment. [ [ > News > Military - Reagan strike group departs San Diego ] ]

The "Reagan" Carrier Strike Group assisted in rescue and retrieval 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. [ [ GMA NEWS.TV, US ship coming to help retrieve victims of sea tragedy] ]

hip's Seal

The design of USS Ronald Reagan’s (CVN 76) seal was created entirely by her plankowner crew with historical assistance provided by staff members at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library foundation. The red border rings the ship’s seal much like the distinctive red rim defines the White House china designed for the Reagans during their White House years. Four gold stars represent President Reagan’s 40th presidency and his four pillars of Freedom: individual liberty; economic opportunity; global democracy; and national pride. “Peace through Strength,” was a recurring theme of the President’s life in public service. The aircraft carrier is positioned by the West Coast, representing President Reagan’s two terms as Governor of California and the ship’s homeport in the Pacific Fleet. The three aircraft with their patriotic contrails symbolize the three major military operations the President directed during his tenure: Operation Urgent Fury (Grenada/1983); Operation El Dorado Canyon (Libya/1986); and Operation Praying Mantis (Iran/1988). The view of the globe signifies the President’s vision of global democracy, and the center is the United States representing our national pride. Colors of red, white and blue dominate the seal reflecting the American flag. []


See also

* List of aircraft carriers
* List of aircraft carriers of the United States Navy

External links

* [ The official "Ronald Reagan" web site]
* [ USS Ronald Reagan history at U.S. Carriers]
* [ US Navy Aircraft Carrier Page]

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