Toledo native and Bowsher High School graduate Dakota Thomas is serving aboard the U.S. Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). Ronald Reagan departed Yokosuka, Japan on May 19 for its 2021 deployment. Ronald Reagan, the flagship of the Ronald Reagan carrier strike group (CSG), the embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG 67) and guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey (DDG 97) entered the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations (AOO), June 25.
The CSG’s arrival marks the first time the Ronald Reagan has entered the U.S. 5th Fleet AOO since 2012.
While in the U.S. 5th Fleet, the Ronald Reagan CSG will operate and train alongside regional and coalition partners, and provide airpower to protect U.S. and coalition forces as they conduct drawdown operations from Afghanistan.
Thomas, a Petty Officer Second Class, serves as an Aviation Maintenance Administration man for the “Eagles” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 115. His primary role is keeping track of maintenance records on his squadron’s F/A-18E Super Hornet fighter jets.
“If the paperwork is not tracked properly, the aircraft could miss a flight,” said Thomas. “That could prevent us from accomplishing our mission and helping the people we joined to help.”
“Ronald Reagan’s flexible presence is a key element in helping assure our regional allies and partners that the United States remains committed to ensuring freedom of the seas,” said Capt. Fred Goldhammer, Ronald Reagan’s commanding officer. “Across the globe, the crew aboard Ronald Reagan seeks to preserve ‘peace through strength’ and is ready to answer the call.”
Ronald Reagan is the flagship for Carrier Strike Group 5 and is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the Central Region, connecting the Mediterranean and the Pacific through the western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points.