7 US aircraft carriers are at sea for the first time in years — here’s what they’re doing

The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan in the Pacific Ocean with ships assigned to Rim of the Pacific 2010 combined task force as part of a photo exercise north of Hawaii.

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The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan in the Pacific Ocean with ships assigned to Rim of the Pacific 2010 combined task force as part of a photo exercise north of Hawaii.
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US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dylan McCord

For the first time in years, seven of the US Navy’s 11 nuclear aircraft carriers are at sea simultaneously, according to US Naval Institute News.

The USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), USS Nimitz (CVN 68), and USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) are in the Western Pacific on operational deployments. They have full air wings and carrier escorts.

The USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) are in the Eastern Pacific, while the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) and the brand-new USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) are in the Atlantic. Those four carriers are on training missions or doing workups before deployments.

All the carriers – including the ones converging on the Western Pacific – are on planned operations amid President Donald Trump’s 12-day trip to Asia.

Here’s what each carrier is up to.


The USS Ronald Reagan just finished a three-day drill in the Sea of Japan with a Japanese destroyer and two Indian warships.

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The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan.
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Dylan McCord/US Navy

Source: Reuters


The USS Nimitz, the lead ship in the Nimitz class, visited Sri Lanka in October — the first time a US aircraft carrier had visited the dock Colombo over 30 years.

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Aiyana S. Paschal/US Navy

Source: USNI News


The USS Theodore Roosevelt visited the US territory of Guam on October 31, the first time the carrier has ever done so.

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Screenshot/Twitter via @PacificCommand

Three months earlier, the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un threatened to launch missiles near the island. More recently, China reportedly practiced bombing runs targeting Guam with H-6K “Badger” bombers.


The USS Carl Vinson recently conducted training exercises off the coast of Southern California and is now doing a planned sustainment exercise and flight tests with the F-35C Lightning II fighter.

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United States Navy

Source: Times of San Diego, USNI News


The USS John C. Stennis had been at the Kitsap-Bremerton naval base in Washington state for repairs but left port last week for the Eastern Pacific.

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US Pacific Fleet/Flickr

Source: USNI News


The USS Abraham Lincoln finished its four-year midlife refueling and complex overhaul in May and is now going through qualifications.

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US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jennifer M. Kirkman

Source: USNI News


The USS Gerald R. Ford, the first of the US Navy’s Gerald R. Ford class of aircraft carriers, is the largest and most advanced ship in the US fleet. It was commissioned in July and is undergoing trials and exercises before it fully joins the fleet.

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An F/A-18F Super Hornet flies over the USS Gerald R. Ford in July.
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United States Navy

The Ford is the Navy’s most sophisticated carrier – though it was built without urinals.