CORONADO, Calif. (KGTV) — The USS Theodore Roosevelt is finally back at Naval Air Station North Island after undergoing 18 months of maintenance and renovations in Bremerton, Washington.
A crowd of loved ones watched and waited for the sailors to return.
"It's always hard, especially with a kid," said Alex Evertt, a spouse of one of the sailors. "I think that their job can be dangerous sometimes, and that's always a worry, especially when they're going in waters that are hostile and then comms being down, you know, we can't get a hold of them."
Evertt's husband was one of 3,000 sailors on the ship that underwent maintenance renovations, like adding capabilities to have Ospreys and F-35s on board.
"That modernization and the capabilities that they bring are definitely going to help us really tackle any challenges we can foresee once we get underway during our workups and deployment," said Capt. Brian Schrum, the commanding officer of the USS Roosevelt.
While a lot of work was accomplished while in Washington, it wasn't always easy for the sailors on board.
"I'm really proud of the team for really coming together. We had a lot of maintenance challenges to work through as does any ship," explained Schrum.
One of the challenges the crew faced while undergoing maintenance was the two deaths that happened on board within the past five months.
The Navy confirmed it is still investigating both and says it responded by surging mental health resources for the sailors within 24 to 72 hours
Schrum said morale is always a challenge, but it's always at the forefront of his mind.
"What we leverage a lot is our morale welfare and recreation team on board. We have some civilians who work with our sailors to help provide support in doing multiple different activities — not just aboard the ship when they're underway —but also when we're in the shipyard," said Schrum.
The USS Roosevelt plans to take to the high seas again within the next year.