Forwarded NewsStand Story: Theodore Roosevelt Marks 20 Years
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Sender comment: 20th Anniversary - Aircraft Carrier TR.
Theodore Roosevelt Marks 20 Years
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Mark A. Catalano, USS Theodore Roosevelt Public Affairs
USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (NNS) -- A ceremony honoring the 20th anniversary of the commissioning of the Norfolk-based aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (TR) (CVN 71) took place in the ship's hangar bay Oct. 25.
Several distinguished guests who have played an important role in the life of the ship were on hand for the occasion.
"Twenty years of service . think about that for a minute," said TR Commanding Officer, Capt. J. R. Haley, who took command June 9, 2005. "The median age of the crew on this ship is 19. That means that on average, a good portion of this ship's crew was not even born when she entered service."
A significant moment for the more than 3,000 TR crew members on hand came when TR's first commanding officer took to the podium to deliver a brief message with high impact.
Retired Rear Adm. Wick Parcells first turned to Haley and asked the captain for permission to speak directly to the crew.
"Now I'm going to be brief, so listen up!" Parcells said. "Way back then, they always talked about battery of a ship. They said for an aircraft carrier, the battery was the aircraft. Well I'm here to tell ya, they're wrong. They were wrong then and they're wrong now.
"The battery of this ship is you. It's the crew. This ship would do nothing on its own if it wasn't for you," he said. "You bring this ship to life."
Parcells concluded his short time at the podium with three cheers for "the man," as he referred to President Theodore Roosevelt, and three cheers for "the ship," and its crew.
Haley also asked Barbara Lehman to join him at the podium. Oct. 27, 1984, Lehman, wife of former Navy Secretary John F. Lehman, christened TR. The ship was commissioned about two years later, Oct. 25, 1986, officially becoming a part of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet and the Navy's fourth Nimitz-class aircraft carrier.
"Mrs. Barbara Lehman is our ship's sponsor," Haley said. "For those of you who don't know, a warship's sponsor becomes part of the ship's family at the christening, and that connection lasts throughout the life of the ship."
Haley continued by saying those stationed aboard the Roosevelt serve proudly and honor the spirit of the ship's namesake.
"President Theodore Roosevelt worked hard to set our Navy on the course to excellence that we see today," Haley said.
Haley then introduced Simon Roosevelt, the great-great grandson of former President Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt talked about the legacy his great-great grandfather left and his foresight in establishing the most powerful and efficient Navy in the world.
"TR commissioned dozens of ships during his time in the presidency," said Roosevelt. "He capped off his Navy legacy by sailing the Great White Fleet around the world on a one-year voyage. And when the crews returned, he told them, 'Others may do what you have done, but they will have to follow you.'"
A cake-cutting reception immediately followed the ceremony. TR's oldest and youngest Sailors, Lt. Cmdr. (chaplain) Donald Moss and Airman Andrew Bryan, respectively, made the traditional first cuts.
The ship's maiden voyage began Dec. 30, 1988, and more than 17 years later, March 11, 2006, TR returned from its 10th scheduled deployment. In that span, the "Big Stick" participated in every major U.S. conflict, in operations ranging from Provide Promise and Deny Flight to Southern Watch and Desert Storm. TR was also the first carrier to deploy in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
"This great ship and all the crews who have sailed aboard her have answered the nation's call," Haley said.
The lifespan of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier is estimated to last 50 years with a refueling scheduled at the 25-year-mark. TR has more sea time before it gets that rest at the midway point and begins another quarter-century of leading the fleet and maintaining its presence as a key element in the U.S. forward-deployed defense strategy.
"In true maritime tradition, TR and her crews have continually shown the flag," Haley said. "From the North of Europe to the shores of the Mediterranean, from the Caribbean to Southwest Asia and the Middle East - TR Sailors have served as goodwill ambassadors to the world, and countless world leaders have embarked or visited this great ship - and while they marveled at the technological might, they were consistently impressed with the high quality of young Americans who are the heart of this great ship."
For related news, visit the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn71/.