- Associated Press - Monday, January 18, 2016

BREMERTON, Wash. (AP) - The USS John C. Stennis aircraft carrier is off on a seven-month deployment in the western Pacific Ocean.

The Kitsap Sun reports (https://is.gd/JsNmxb ) that the mission is to keep the peace in the region, possibly by showing force to North Korea or supporting friends over disputed islands in the South China Sea. The ship could steam from Japan to New Zealand and anywhere in between.

The ship and its strike group also plans exercises with other navies, boosting their ability to operate with the U.S. and on their own. The Stennis, which has a crew of 3,100, departed Friday.

The carrier hasn’t deployed since back-to-back Middle East trips wrapped up in May 2013. That was followed by an 18-month maintenance period at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and seven training voyages.

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Information from: Kitsap Sun, https://www.kitsapsun.com/

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