The United States Navy’s John C. Stennis Strike Group (JCSSG) has completed its routine operations in the West Philippine Sea, the JCSSG operated on March 1 through March 6, and transited through the Luzon Strait into the Philippine Sea, according to reports from the U.S. Navy.

The JCSSG conducted daily flight operations and a replenishment-at-sea during their passage, receiving advanced biofuel, aviation fuel, and supplies from USNS Rainier (T-AOE 7).

WEST PHILIPPINE SEA (March 4, 2016) - The guided-missile destroyer USS Stockdale (DDG 106) is conducting a routine patrol in international waters. A People's Liberation Army (Navy) ship (pennant number 851) transits in the background. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ryan Batchelder/ Released)
WEST PHILIPPINE SEA (March 4, 2016) – The guided-missile destroyer USS Stockdale (DDG 106) is conducting a routine patrol in international waters. A People’s Liberation Army (Navy) ship (pennant number 851) transits in the background. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ryan Batchelder/ Released)

The crew reportedly sharpened their skills while operating in the West Philippine Sea, one of the most heavily trafficked areas in the world through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year.

Senior Chief Quartermaster Henry Nicol of the USS John C. Stennis’ navigation department,  it’s essential to carefully monitor the ship’s position and course, because of congested sea lanes.

Lt. Jason Falk, from the Wizards of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 133, said, that the crew remains on high alert while operating in this congested water to be able to identify contacts as early as possible to maintain awareness.

He also said that People’s Liberation Army (Navy) ships remained in the Stennis’ area of operations during its time in the West Philippine Sea.

“Based on the bridge-to-bridge communications USS Chung-Hoon had with the PLA(N) ships, it is clear that the Chinese Navy prides itself on professional communications and interactions,” said Cmdr. Tom Ogden, commanding officer of USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93).

The carrier strike group is consist of Stennis with Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 21 embarked, Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93), USS Stockdale (DDG 106), USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110), and Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53).

The carrier strike group is the United States’ latest show of force after China’s deployment of Surface-to-air missiles and fighter jets in the Paracels. -Malcom F.

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