Aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), its escorts and its embarked air wing began its second deployment in a year, the service announced on Wednesday.
The deployment of the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group began at the completion of a sustainment exercise that began shortly after the carrier left San Diego earlier in December.
“Completing SUSTEX confirmed that Carrier Strike Group Nine is ready to sail west to preserve freedom of the seas, deter aggression, and if necessary, win against any competitor,” CSG 9 commander Rear Adm. Doug Verissimo, Commander said in a Navy statement.
“The entire strike group team came together during a challenging time to train and ultimately prove that it is ready to answer any call.”
The strike group and the air wing have been in isolation since mid-November ahead of the deployment.
The deployment is the second for the strike group this year. Theodore Roosevelt deployed from January to July in a deployment that was marred by a COVID-19 outbreak that infected more than 1,200 of the 4,800 sailors assigned to the carrier and killed one, Aviation Ordnanceman Chief Petty Officer Charles Robert Thacker Jr.
The so-called double-pump deployment has highlighted how the Navy carrier’s force is under strain with too few hulls available to meet the demands of combatant commanders. Carrier operations are at their highest rate in a decade with several carriers unable to deploy currently in maintenance availabilities, USNI News reported earlier this year. On the East Coast, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group plans to deploy early next year for its own double-pump deployment.
The TR CSG is deploying with two escorts from the earlier 2020 deployment – guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (DDG-52) and guided-missile destroyer USS Russell (DDG-59) as part of Destroyer Squadron 23. The CSG will also include the destroyer USS John Finn (DDG-113).
While the Navy has not indicated where the carrier will deploy, the small number of escorts implies that the strike group will largely stay in the Western Pacific and not relieve USS Nimitz (CVN-68) from its position operating in the Middle East, USNI News understands.
“Our sailors worked incredibly hard to make sure we set sail with a healthy, capable, and ready crew,” Capt. Eric Anduze, Theodore Roosevelt’s commanding officer, said in a statement.
“Our success is a testament to the professionalism and dedication of our team and the support of our families and loved ones.”
The following is the composition of the TR CSG.
Carrier Strike Group 9
The San Diego-based CSG 9 commands the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group and is embarked on the carrier.
USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), homeported in San Diego, Calif.
Carrier Air Wing 11
Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11, based at Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., is embarked aboard Theodore Roosevelt and includes a total of nine squadrons and detachments:
- The “Tomcatters” of VFA-31 – Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) – from Naval Air Station Oceana, Va.
- The “Golden Warriors” of VFA-87 from Naval Air Station Oceana, Va.
- The “Blue Diamonds” of VFA-146 from Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif.
- The “Black Knights” of VFA-154 from Naval Air Station Lemoore – Calif.
- The “Gray Wolves” of VAQ-142 – Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) – from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island – Wash.
- The “Liberty Bells” of VAW-115 – Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) – from Naval Air Station Point Mugu, Calif.
- The “Providers” of VRC-30 – Detachment – Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) – from Naval Air Station North Island, Calif.
- The “Eight Ballers” of HSC-8 – Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) – from Naval Air Station North Island, Calif.
- The “Wolf Pack” of HSM-75 – Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) – from Naval Air Station North Island, Calif.
- USS Bunker Hill (CG-52), homeported in San Diego, Calif.
Destroyer Squadron 23
Destroyer Squadron 23 is based in San Diego and is embarked on the carrier.
- USS Russell (DDG-59), homeported in San Diego, Calif.
- USS John Finn (DDG-113), homeported in San Diego, Calif.