USS Reagan returns home

CORONADO (CNS) – The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, cruiser USS Chancellorsville, destroyer USS Preble and Carrier Air Wing 14 returned home Friday following a seven-month deployment.

The ships departed Feb. 2 for a shakedown cruise before heading to the Western Pacific and Middle Eastern waters for what was expected to be a routine deployment.

While en route, however, the ships were sent to Japan to assist with relief efforts following the 9.0 earthquake and resulting tsunami that struck north of Tokyo. While off-shore, the Reagan was contaminated with a small amount of radiation from a damaged nuclear reactor, but no sailors were harmed, according to Capt. Thom Burke, the aircraft carrier's commanding officer.

“This has been a historic deployment across a wide spectrum of Navy mission areas,” Burke said.

U.S. aircraft flew nearly 500 missions in support of Japan in the month following the earthquake, often using the Reagan as a base. Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa visited the ship to thank the sailors for their contributions to the relief effort.

Burke said every sailor and Marine on board should feel a “great sense of pride and satisfaction.”

“They worked long hours, in tough conditions and I couldn't be happier to be bringing everyone home safely,” Burke said.

Categories: KUSI