U.S. Navy destroyers reunite in South China Sea

Participating ships of a U.S. 3rd Fleet Pacific Surface Action Group (PAC SAG) reunited while on routine patrol increasing U.S. Navy presence in the South China Sea ahead of the international ruling on the South China Sea dispute.

The ships met on June 27 after conducting nearly three months of theater security operations in the Indo-Asia Pacific.

Guided-missile destroyers USS Spruance (DDG 111), USS Momsen (DDG 92), and USS Decatur (DDG 73), with embarked Destroyer Squadron (CDS) 31 staff, deployed to the Western Pacific and South China Sea since departing the waters of Southern California in April.

For the past three months, Momsen and Decatur conducted several bilateral exercises with the Republic of Korea, France and Japan which highlighted numerous evolutions to include anti-submarine warfare, maneuvering drills, gunnery exercises and visit, board, search and seizure subject matter expert exchanges. They also had the opportunity to engage with U.S. Air Force and U.S. Marine Corps air assets in small force events.

Spruance participated in the Oceania Maritime Security Initiative (OMSI) in the South China Sea. OMSI is a Secretary of Defense program leveraging Department of Defense assets transiting the region to increase the Coast Guard’s maritime domain awareness, ultimately supporting its maritime law enforcement operations in Oceania.

“This Surface Action Group continues to operate effectively throughout the Pacific and across the spectrum of missions they have been assigned,” said Vice Adm. Nora Tyson, commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet. “Their deployment is an important part of the ‘3rd Fleet Forward’ concept and we are proud of their performance thus far.”

“The forward presence contributes to freedom of navigation and lawful use of the sea,” the U.S. Navy said.