Sunday, February 22, 2009

USS Ronald Reagan Awarded 2nd Battle E

In this November 2008 file photo, sailors man the rails on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) while the ship makes her way past Point Loma into her homeport of San Diego. (U.S. Navy photo by Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Spike Call.)

Focus on Defense:

USS RONALD REAGAN, At Sea, Feb. 22, 2009 -- USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) Sailors received word Feb. 17 the ship had won its second Battle E award, given to the most battle-ready carrier in the Pacific fleet.

In a message from Vice Adm. Thomas Kilcline, Jr., Commander, Naval Air Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Ronald Reagan was named the top aircraft carrier for the Pacific Fleet, its second such designation in three years. Ronald Reagan won its first Battle E in 2006, its first year of eligibility. The award measures a carrier's battle readiness across all departmental areas, from the air department to the weapons department, and everything in between.

"This honor is special to us because it literally took every single Ronald Reagan Sailor doing their part to earn it," said Capt. Kenneth Norton, Ronald Reagan's commanding officer. "Across all departments, this award was won at the deckplate level. Ronald Reagan Sailors endeavor to excel, and they're always striving to improve."

Each crew member is now authorized to wear the Battle E ribbon for the remainder of their time in service, and Reagan's Sailors expressed pride in the honor.

"It's great that all of our work has been recognized," said Damage Controlman 3rd Class Brett Malen. "Knowing that we are the best carrier in the West is a great feeling, and I'm glad to be serving aboard this ship."

"There is a family atmosphere here," said Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Apprentice Pedro Delgadillo.
"Everyone I work with is willing to help me out whenever I ask for it."

"There's a sense of pride knowing I'm on a ship where everyone wants to excel in their career," added Aviation Electrician's Mate 3rd Class Christine Bower.

USS Ronald Reagan is currently at sea, conducting carrier qualifications for the Navy's newest pilots, including launches and recoveries of the EA-18G Growler, the Navy's newest electronic warfare aircraft. Among the Battle E winners in the surface force was the guided-missile destroyer, USS Gridley (DDG 101), a member of the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group. The Battle E for Atlantic fleet-based aircraft carriers went to the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75).

USS Ronald Reagan is the flagship of Carrier Strike Group 7 and the ninth of 10 Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. The ship is named of the 40th president, its motto, "Peace through Strength," was a recurring theme during the Reagan presidency.

(Report by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kyle Carlstrom, USS Ronald Reagan Public Affairs.)

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