Home Americas USS Theodore Roosevelt clears final hurdle to return to operations

USS Theodore Roosevelt clears final hurdle to return to operations

USS Theodore Roosevelt
USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) transits the Philippine Sea, June 1, 2020. Photo: US Navy

US Navy aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) is continuing to make progress on its return to operations as the ship and its carrier air wing (CVW 11) completed carrier qualifications on June 2.

The milestone comes weeks after the carrier got underway again from Guam, where it was forced to spend some two months pierside due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Theodore Roosevelt qualified pilots from the “Tomcatters” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 31, “Golden Warriors” of VFA-87, “Blue Diamonds” of VFA-146, “Black Knights” of VFA-154, “Liberty Bells” of Airborne Command and Control Squadron (VAW) 115, “The Gray Wolves” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 142, and the “Providers” of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 30.

“It is very gratifying to be able to return to our primary mission in the Indo-Pacific,” said Capt. Steve Jaureguizar, commander, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11. “The carrier air wing joined together with the carrier is the bedrock of naval aviation and power projection.”

Carrier qualifications are a time for naval aviators to refine their skills practiced during field carrier landing practice (FCLP) for sustained operations at sea aboard the aircraft carrier. Following the air wing integration, the remainder of the crew will return to the ship.

“It felt great to get back in the cockpit and launch from the catapult while at sea,” said Lt. William Leagon, a naval aviator assigned to VAQ 142. “As a naval aviator this is what we signed up to do and it’s really exciting to get back to business.”

Theodore Roosevelt and CVW-11 are on a scheduled deployment to the US 7th Fleet area of operations.

Completing carrier qualification was the last milestone in returning Theodore Roosevelt to sea as a ready, credible naval asset capable of projecting power over the horizon.