The John C. Stennis Strike Group (JCSSG) is conducting routine operations in the West Philippine Sea to help strengthen freedom of navigation in the region.

According to the U.S. Navy, the JCSSG transited the Luzon Strait March 1 and have maintained a location in the eastern half of these international waters for four days.

Several People’s Liberation Army Navy vessel was spotted shadowing the JCSSG and have remained in JCSSG’s vicinity during the time period.

160304-N-GZ947-152 SOUTH CHINA SEA (March 4, 2016) An MH-60S Sea Hawk assigned to the Chargers of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 14, currently embarked aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), conducts routine flight operations during a replenishment-at-sea with the fast combat support ship USNS Rainier (T-AOE 7). A People's Liberation Army (Navy) vessel is seen shadowing Stennis during her patrol in the South China Sea. John C. Stennis Strike Group is conducting a routine patrol in international waters in the 7th Fleet Area of Operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kenneth Rodriguez Santiago / Released)
WEST PHILIPPINE SEA (March 4, 2016) An MH-60S Sea Hawk assigned to the Chargers of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 14, currently embarked aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), conducts routine flight operations during a replenishment-at-sea with the fast combat support ship USNS Rainier (T-AOE 7). A People’s Liberation Army (Navy) vessel is seen shadowing Stennis during her patrol in the West Philippine Sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kenneth Rodriguez Santiago / Released)

“We have Chinese ships around us that we normally didn’t see in my past experience,” said Capt. Greg Huffman, Stennis’ commanding officer.

“Everything I have heard over bridge-to-bridge channels has been good communications between professional mariners,” he added.

The JCSSG all conducted a replenishment-at-sea receiving advanced biofuel, aviation fuel and supplies from USNS Rainier (T-AOE 7).

Flight operations have occurred daily with Carrier Airwing (CVW) 9 conducting 266 sorties.

An E-2C Hawkeye assigned to the Golden Hawks of Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 112 launches from the flight deck of USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Dakota Rayburn / Released)
An E-2C Hawkeye assigned to the Golden Hawks of Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 112 launches from the flight deck of USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Dakota Rayburn / Released)

CVW-9 consists of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 71, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 14, Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 112, Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 133 and Strike Fighter Squadrons (VFA) 151, 97, 41 and 14.

Source: U.S. Navy

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