The role of the carrier was made clear once again when in March of 1996, the Chinese rattled their sabers against Taiwan. The USS Independence, with CAG Five, was immediately deployed from its homeport in Yokosuka, Japan. The ship arrived on station in just a few days. It steamed back and forth out of range of China's large land-based air force, but well within striking distance for its own planes.

As thousands of Chinese soldiers and aircraft readied for a possible invasion, the government in Beijing had to face a simple reality: the Independence and CAG Five, with its 70 aircraft and highly trained crews, could almost single-handedly stop any attempt of the Chinese to cross the straits and invade Taiwan. Ultimately, the Chinese government downplayed their actions as mere exercises and the crisis ended peacefully. Without the presence of the USS Independence, however, no one can guess what may have happened.