USS Ronald Reagan departs Japan for final Indo-Pacific patrol before relocating to Bremerton

Bremertonians are one step closer to welcoming another aircraft carrier to the shoreline of Sinclair Inlet later this year.

On May 16, Japan Standard Time, the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) departed Yokosuka, Japan. This marked the last time the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier departed as the U.S. Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier, according to a statement from the Navy.

The ship is scheduled for a final Indo-Pacific patrol. Departing with the Ronald Reagan were the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Robert Smalls (CG 62) and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Howard (DDG 83), the Navy said.

Later this year, the Ronald Reagan will transit to Bremerton after nine years of service in Japan. The ship will conduct a scheduled docking and planned incremental availability period at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.

The last time the ship had visited Bremerton was between 2012 and 2013 when it conducted a 12-month repair and maintenance at PSNS two years before the ship was forward deployed to Yokosuka in 2015.

The Ronald Reagan has over 5,000 sailors on the ship when all the embarked staffs and air wing are on board. About 3,300 of those sailors are assigned to Ronald Reagan. Most of the Ronald Reagan sailors will eventually move to Bremerton later this year, said Phillip Chitty, a USS Ronald Reagan spokesperson in an email on May 9.

More: USS Ronald Reagan will relocate to Bremerton from Yokosuka, Japan next year

Bremerton is currently the home of the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier. The Nimitz returned to Bremerton last July after a seven-month global deployment.

USS George Washington (CVN 73) will replace Ronald Reagan as the Navy's forward-deployed aircraft carrier.

This article originally appeared on Kitsap Sun: USS Ronald Reagan departs Japan for final patrol, transit to Bremerton