After two weeks of training off Southern California, the USS Theodore Roosevelt, its air wings and three guided-missile cruisers are heading westward out to sea on deployment.
The ship, its 5,500 sailors, and those in its strike group have been doing a “sustainment exercise” off California’s coast to prepare.
In the exercise, sailors tested their competence and ensured they and their equipment are ready to compete and win in a high-end fight, officials said. The group examined all its capabilities, including the ability for a long-range strike, information warfare, air defense and surface and subsurface warfare.
Completing the training confirms “Carrier Strike Group Nine is ready to sail west to preserve freedom of the seas, deter aggression, and if necessary, win against any competitor,” Rear Adm. Doug Verissimo, the group’s commander, said in a statement.
Prior to the aircraft carrier’s departure, sailors were sequestered in accordance with the U.S. Pacific Fleet guidelines to reduce the risk of the coronavirus aboard the ship. Something the carrier is all too familiar with.
On Jan. 17, the Roosevelt left San Diego on a previous deployment to the Indo-Pacific region with about 4,845 sailors aboard. In early March, the coronavirus made its way onto the ship, and by mid-April, 1,273 sailors were sick.
The aircraft carrier was forced to stop in Guam so the infected crew could be quarantined. Aviation Ordnanceman Chief Petty Officer Charles Robert Thacker Jr. died.
The aircraft carrier returned to San Diego on July 9.
It left San Diego again earlier this month, then just three days after getting underway, on Dec. 10, Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Apprentice Ethan Garrett Goolsby went overboard. The ship launched a massive search including four other ships in the strike group, Navy planes and the U.S. Coast Guard that covered more than 607 square nautical miles for more than 55 hours.
On Dec. 13, Navy officials announced Goolsby was presumed dead.
In addition to the Roosevelt, the deployment’s strike group includes Carrier Air Wing 11, the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill, Destroyer Squadron 23 and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Russell and USS John Finn.
Source: Orange County Register