NORFOLK, Va.: USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) returned to its homeport of Norfolk, Va., April 18 after a successful seven-month deployment supporting Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and maritime security and coalition operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility (AOR).
TR and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8 flew 3,105 sorties in support of OEF, with more than 61,000 pounds of ordnance dropped on target in support of coalition forces.
“The dedication of the ship’s crew and naval aviators enabled TR to successfully complete its mission
supporting Sailors, soldiers, airmen and Marines on the ground in Afghanistan,” said TR’s Commanding Officer Capt. Ladd Wheeler. “Sailors aboard TR set a high standard for themselves and the ship with their missionfocused mentality. TR has completed a deployment to be proud of.”
Along with five months of combat operations, TR played host to a variety of distinguished visitors. President Hamid Karzai, of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, made his first visit to a U.S. aircraft carrier aboard TR in December. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, Commander, U.S. Central Command, made a special Thanksgiving visit to TR to thank the crew for their service. Adm. Jonathan Greenert, – Forces Command also embarked the ship along with dignitaries and military officials from South Africa, Dakar, Jordan, Egypt and England. More than 300 distinguished visitors from nine different countries visited TR during this deployment.
During the course of the deployment, TR made port visits to such diverse localities as Portsmouth, England, and Cape Town, South Africa. The Cape Town visit marked the first time in more than 40 years that a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier visited South Africa, and the first time a nuclear-powered vessel was permitted to visit the area.
TR Sailors gave back to the international community by participating in seven community relations projects with 324 volunteers, contributing 88 hours to various communities the ship’s crew visited. TR Sailors also raised more than $186,155 for the Combined Federal Campaign.
The deployment also saw the crew “staying Navy”, with 427 Sailors reenlisting and earning more than $11 million in selective reenlistment bonuses. Other achievements included 980 Sailors completing 63 college classes, and congratulating more than 140 new dads.
Mail, both electronic and the traditional kind, were in high demand, with more than 8.7 million e-mails processed, and 635,001 pounds of U.S. mail sent out, and 87,986 pounds delivered to the ship.
The total distance steamed during deployment was 67,000 miles, or nearly three times around the circumference of the globe. Electrical power generated during deployment totaled more than 63,500 megawatts of power, enough to power more than 2.8 billion 60-watt light bulbs 24 hours-a-day. Fresh water produced totaled more than 45 million gallons, which would be equal to a water bill of more than $139,000.
Wheeler said the returning Sailors have earned some well-deserved time off from the 222 days deployed.
“Homecoming is an incredible experience that the crew will remember for a long time to come. The atmosphere is a culmination of emotions for the hard working Sailors and the families who have provided so much support,” he said. “Having thousands of friends and family members awaiting them on the pier is a moment they will never forget.”