A United States Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110) has conducted ‘routine patrol’ May 2 in international waters of South China Sea during a regularly scheduled 7th Fleet deployment. USS William P. Lawrence is part of John C. Stennis Strike Group.
“This operation was a great way to show our strike group’s ability to disperse forces for different missions and cover a broad area of water in 7th Fleet,” said Cmdr. Walter C. Mainor, commanding officer, William P. Lawrence.
The exact location where the said patrol was conducted was not mentioned in John C. Stennis Strike Group Public Affairs’ report.
The report said guided-missile destroyer USS Stockdale (DDG 106) also completed a similar patrol, March 5. US Defense Secretary Ash Carter said that in March joint US-Philippines patrol operations was conducted in West Philippine Sea.
“The strike group is exercising our right to operate in international waters,” said John C. Stennis Strike Group commander Rear Adm. Ron Boxall after the March 5 mission . “Our presence here promotes peace and stability in the region. We’ve got vibrant economies in the Western Pacific, and it’s really important for us to be there for our national interests and to ensure that we can keep the sea lanes free.”
The strike group is comprised of USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) with Carrier Airwing (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).
In recent months, other U.S. Navy ships conducted similar operations including the guided-missile destroyers USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54), USS Lassen (DDG 82), USS McCampbell (DDG 85) and USS Preble (DDG 88), the multi-purpose amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2), the guided missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62), the littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) and the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48).