Military


Theodore Roosevelt Strike Group MED 05 Deployment
TRBATGRU
CVN-71 Theodore Roosevelt
"Rough Rider"

On 19 February 2004 TR made its way up the Elizabeth River to start a Docked Planned Incremental Availability (DPIA) at Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) in Portsmouth, VA. TR entered its slot at Dry Dock 8 and the aft dock wall closed behind it. As the river slowly began draining the massive concrete void, Sailors observing must have wondered exactly how such a seemingly insurmountable task would be possible to complete. Several extensive evolutions awaited the several thousand people making up TR project team, consisting of its own Sailors, shipyard workers and contractors. The mission of transforming an 18-year-old, 1,092-foot long, 97,000-ton aircraft carrier into what is now essentially a brand new ship was no small one. She entered the shipyard with the most extensive work package ever attempted within the allotted time period. The purpose of the DPIA was to ensure TR maintained its material condition as well as kept up with technological advances to maximize mission capability.

USS Theodore Roosevelt conducted a "fast cruise" Dec. 6-10, 2004 that marked the end of the ship's Docked Planned Incremental Availability (DPIA) at Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) in Portsmouth, VA. Although sea trials do not officially begin until TR leaves NNSY and gets under way, the fast cruise was meant to showcase more of a change from one evolution to the other. It also showed that TR was ready for tasking. The ship was next expected to make its return home to Naval Station Norfolk upon completion of sea trials, before the ship's first holiday leave period.

USS Theodore Roosevelt (TR) (CVN 71) met its goal of completing its Docked Planned Incremental Availability (DPIA) at Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) in Portmouth, Va., and sea trials, as well as delivering the ship back to the fleet 17 December 2004. During the ship's DPIA, everything from converters for hot water heaters and improved head facilities, to upgrades for the elevators and major work on two of the four catapults, was overhauled or replaced. A major project while in dry dock was the removing, repairing and reinstalling of the ship's propellers (or screws). Two of the four were replaced altogether.

By mid-January 2005 USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) and Carrier Air Wing Eight (CVW-8) are underway again, and the flight deck was back in business. TR conducted carrier flight deck certifications, which took a tremendous amount of manpower to make this evolution happen. Certifications become a necessity for aircraft carriers coming out of dry-docking planned incremental availability (DPIA). Every job performed by personnel from the hangar bay and flight deck to those in Supply and Medical is observed and evaluated.

By April 2005 the nuclear powered aircraft carrier, and Carrier Air Wing Eight (CAG-8) were underway for Tailored Ship Training Availability and Final Evaluation Problem (TSTA/FEP) in the Atlantic Ocean.

A ceremony held aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) (TR) 04 May 2005 recognized the ongoing friendship between Spain and the United States with the joining of a Spanish ship to the TR Carrier Strike Group. Alvaro de Bazan (F 101), a medium-size Spanish frigate, officially became a part of Carrier Strike Group 2.

By 19 May 2005 USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) was underway off the coast of Virginia, conducting carrier qualifications in the Atlantic Ocean.

The Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group (TRCSG), along with Carrier Air Wing 8, departed Norfolk, Va., September 1 in support of the global war on terrorism. This underway marked the final deployment of the famed F-14 Tomcat. The "Tomcatters" of Fighter Squadron (VF) 31 and the "Black Lions" of VF-213, both out of Naval Air Station Oceana, were the last two Tomcat squadrons to deploy. This was also the final deployment for the "Scouts" of Sea Control Squadron (VS) 24, based out of Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla. The squadrons are scheduled to be decommissioned in 2006. TRCSG spent time in the Mediterranean and the Middle East, relieving the San Diego-based aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68).

USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), on a whirlwind tour of the Mediterranean Sea, visited Palma de Mallorca, Spain, Sept. 13-17 and then made a two-day transit to Naples, Italy, for a port visit Sept. 19-23. TR, currently on a routine, scheduled deployment, departed her homeport of Norfolk, Va., Sept. 1 and arrived in the Mediterranean Sea a week later.

Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8 launched its first combat operations from USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) in more than two and a half years Oct. 6, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). The Bear Aces of Carrier Airbone Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 124, the Scouts of Sea Control Squadron (VS) 24, and the Tridents of Helicopter Squadron (HS) 3, flew missions in support of Maritime Security Operations (MSO) to help promote stability in the maritime environment.

Aircraft assigned to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8 stationed aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) supported Operation Steel Curtain (OSC) throughout the second week of November, conducting five consecutive days of strikes against terrorist targets in support of coalition troops in Iraq. The missions flown during OSC demonstrate the quickness and flexibility of CVW 8 and the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group (TRCSG) to provide continuous support on both land and sea.

A chapter in naval aviation history drew to a close on Feb. 8, 2006, aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), when the last F-14 Tomcat was recovered from a combat mission.

USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) (TR) and associated strike group units completed their support of Maritime Security Operations (MSO) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) when the carrier and USS San Jacinto (CG 56) transited the Suez Canal Feb. 15 as they continue their return trip home.

TR's Strike group returned to Naval Station Norfolk on March 11, 2006 after a six-month deployment to the Persian Gulf.

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