UK carrier strike group arrives on Guam

The Royal Navy's new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth (Wikipedia photo by Dave Jenkins)

The United Kingdom Carrier Strike Group (CSG) pulled into Apra Harbor Friday in the midst of the CSG21 deployment to the Indo-Pacific region.

The deployment is the U.K.’s first by a carrier strike group in the Indo-Pacific for almost 25 years and marks a historic achievement in the bilateral partnership between the U.S. and U.K. The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans (DDG-68) is deployed with the strike group, as are F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211 and Royal Netherlands Navy frigate HNLMS Evertsen (F805).

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“CSG21 is a prime example of the powerful partnerships we have, not just with our neighbors in this region, but around the world,” said Rear Adm. Benjamin Nicholson, commander, Joint Region Marianas. “The U.K. is one of our most stalwart and skilled allies, and their participation in our exercises and operations in the Pacific is a demonstration of the deep relationship we share in terms of defense and deterrence of our adversaries.”

Commodore Steve Moorhouse, Commander United Kingdom Carrier Strike Group
said: “The arrival of the Carrier Strike Group in Guam is an important milestone for CSG21. Since we left the UK in May, our journey has taken us from the familiar waters of the Atlantic, through the Mediterranean, across the Indian Ocean and into the Western Pacific. During this time we have undertaken exercises and engagements with more than 20 nations,” said Moorhouse. “Our visit to Guam provides an opportunity for some much-deserved rest and recreation. We are grateful to the U.S. Navy for the use of their facilities and we look forward to exploring this beautiful Pacific Island.”

Guam’s low COVID transmission rates and high vaccination status provides a
safe haven port for Sailors to enjoy some downtime before going back to sea.

“True to our CHamoru hospitality, we look forward to welcoming sailors ashore to enjoy our Pacific paradise. The decision to come to Guam was heavily based on our island’s incredible success with COVID-19 vaccinations, which allows for a greater sense of security for both our visitors and our local community,” said Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero who personally welcomed the UK carrier strike group.

During the group’s visit, Sailors will adhere to U.S. Naval Base Guam policies and local regulations. While the group has vaccinated 100 percent of its crew, random testing identified positive cases onboard, which were immediately isolated. Any Sailors who test positive for COVID-19 will remain on the ship in isolation.

“The deployment of Carrier Strike Group 21 is an incredible and historic milestone for both the Royal Navy and the U.S. Navy, highlighting the interoperability and global reach of our combined forces, as we work together with our allies and partners towards our shared interest in a free and open rules-based order,” said Capt. Mike Luckett, commander Navy Base Guam. “It marks the culmination of nearly 10 years of carrier cooperation between the U.S. and UK defense establishments and demonstrates the depth of our bilateral defense relationship. U.S. Naval Base Guam is proud to host our allies for this historic visit, which is a vital reminder of Guam’s strategic importance in the Western Pacific.”

CSG21 highlights the strategic value of the Indo-Pacific on the global stage
and importance of developing and maintaining high levels of cooperation and
interoperability with allied and partner nations.

(Joint Region Marianas Public Affairs Release)