The USS Ronald Reagan returned to its homeport of Yokosuka, Japan over the weekend after a six-month deployment to the Indo-Pacific — and it did so with flying colors.
Photos published to the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service show the aircraft carrier flying its distinctive battle flag of twin sabers crossed over the number 76 on a red-and-white field from the vessel’s ‘island’ commander center for flight deck operations.
Upon closer inspection, viewers will notice a smaller letter and number transposed in alternating red and white colors over the background field: the letter B and the number 322.
According to the aircraft carrier’s official welcome aboard booklet, the design of the battle flag was created “exclusively by her plankowner crew” to honor the ships’ namesake, President Ronald Reagan:
President Reagan’s personal military experience began in 1935 when he enlisted as a private in Troop B, 322nd Cavalry – the reason for the letter B and the numbers 322.
In April of 1937 he earned a commission as a second lieutenant in the Reserve Corps of Cavalry.
The red over white background is reminiscent of the 11th Cavalry’s original guidon (or flag) and later, their unit’s patch.
The crossed sabers reflect those found on the cover or cap of a cavalry officer as early as the 1800s. The number 76 refers to the hull number of USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76)
The battle flag is only flown during “special ship evolutions,” according to the welcome booklet — evolutions like a return to its homeport of Yokosuka.
While the Reagan’s battle flag may not be as original as historically rich as, say, the guided-missile destroyer USS Paul Hamilton’s Moultrie Flag or graphically enthusiastic as the submarine USS Indiana’s relatively new banner, it’s still a perfectly fitting tribute to the vessel’s history and heritage.