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USS Theodore Roosevelt returns to San Diego after 6-month deployment

Posted at 2:00 PM, May 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-25 17:10:44-04

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier returned to San Diego Tuesday following a six-month deployment across the Pacific.

The Nimitz-class carrier left San Diego last December for the second deployment its crew embarked upon in 2020, which took the ship about 48,000 nautical miles to the U.S. 3rd Fleet and 7th Fleet areas of operation and back.

"Whether it was operating in the Indo-Pacific and the South China Sea or high northern latitudes in the Gulf of Alaska, Carrier Strike Group Nine demonstrated that the U.S. Navy is ready for anything," said Rear Adm. Doug Verissimo, commander of Carrier Strike Group Nine. "We met the challenges that COVID-19 brought head-on and successfully deployed forward to work with our allies and partners from Australia, India, Japan, Malaysia and South Korea."

According to the Navy, the carrier conducted security operations in the Indo-Pacific region, as well as bilateral exercises with the Indian Navy and Air Force, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, Royal Australian Navy, Republic of Korea Navy and the Royal Malaysian Air Force.

The crew also took part in the Northern Edge 2021 joint field training exercise in the Gulf of Alaska earlier this month.

"Our presence in the Indo-Pacific had a significant impact on maintaining stability and security in the region that would not have been possible without every single sailor aboard," said Capt. Eric Anduze, Theodore Roosevelt's commanding officer.

During the carrier's first deployment in 2020, the ship was sidelined in Guam for months due to a COVID-19 outbreak that saw more than 1,200 sailors infected, which makes up about one quarter of the ship's crew.

Then-Capt. Brett Crozier was fired after his letter to Navy leaders, which asked for more help in managing the virus, went public. Navy Secretary Thomas Modly, who fired Crozier, resigned shortly afterward following a leak of an audio recording, in which he openly criticized Crozier to the ship's crew over the carrier's public address system.

An ensuing investigation by the Office of Inspector General blamed ineffective social distancing and the premature release of sailors from quarantine as the primary causes of increased COVID-19 infection onboard.