Wednesday, October 08, 2008

TR Completes South African Port Visit

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (AW/SW) Monique K. Hilley, USS Theodore Roosevelt Public Affairs

USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Theodore Roosevelt (TR) (CVN 71) pulled anchor as it departed Cape Town, South Africa Oct. 7, after its three-day port visit to the area.

This port visit was a historic event as it marked the first time a U.S. aircraft carrier has visited South Africa in 41 years. The last time a carrier visited Cape Town was USS Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1967.

Crew members were provided many opportunities to experience the culture and environment of South Africa. TR's Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) organized several tours for the crew including wine tours, an African safari, a tour of Cape Point and hiking Table Mountain.

"A total of 800 Sailors took MWR tours on Monday, Oct. 6, and we have gotten nothing but rave reviews from everyone that went on the trips," said Chief Aviation Electrician's Mate (AW) Bryan Neal, TR's MWR fun chief. "At the end of the day, we were able to accommodate Sailors by giving them the opportunity to see the country."

TR was anchored in the harbor of Table Bay with the dramatic Table Mountain as its backdrop. Table Mountain is considered one of the most recognizable and most visited sites in the region. MWR provided bus rides and tickets to the crew so they could ride the cableway up the mountain and enjoy a 360-degree view of the city.

"The view was breathtaking, and I was totally surprised at how close we were able to get to the edge of the mountain," said Lt. j.g. James Knepp. "It was one of the most enjoyable experiences I had in port."

One of MWR's tours was the Bushman Experience which offered Sailors a chance to visit an ostrich farm as well as the opportunity to visit a local village where tours were provided by a local Bushman who demonstrated their way of life.

"It was crazy to see how other parts of the world live," said Storekeeper Seaman Lacy Frye. "My favorite part was definitely sitting on an ostrich. That is something you do not get to do back home."

Crew members also got the chance to dine on some very unique cuisine while on liberty in Cape Town including warthog, gazelle, crocodile and caribou steaks.

"We were honored to be able to experience the amazing culture of South Africa. This visit to Cape Town was a rare opportunity for our Sailors, one that I know will remain long in the memories of every member of the crew," said Capt. Ladd Wheeler, TR's commanding officer.