Wednesday, September 02, 2009

USS Theodore Roosevelt Transitions to Newport News Shipyard for Complex Overhaul

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Nathan L. Lockwood, USS Theodore Roosevelt Public Affairs

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- USS Theodore Roosevelt (TR) (CVN 71) made the move across the James River Aug. 29 to Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding in Newport News to begin the aircraft carrier's scheduled Refueling Complex Overhaul (RCOH).

During the "dead-stick" move, Sailors on the ship's bridge maneuvered the ship while it was moved by tugs en route to a dry-dock at the shipyard where it was built and commissioned nearly 25 years ago.

"RCOH is an important process for the life-span of the ship that will require the combined efforts of the shipyard and the Sailors to finish on time," said TR's commanding officer, Capt. Ladd Wheeler. "I am confident that the 'Big Stick' will complete this yard period safely and efficiently and return to the fleet in the coming years ready for full service."

A multi-year overhaul, RCOH involves the alterations, repair, maintenance, and refueling of the aircraft carrier. The RCOH enables the ship to meet future mission and continue service life requirements for approximately the next 25 years. USS Theodore Roosevelt is the fourth Nimitz-class aircraft carrier to participate in the RCOH at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding.

Shortly after returning to Naval Station Norfolk on April 18, the ship began the process of preparing the ship for the transit to Newport News. This included making cuts in the ship's hull to accommodate removal and replacement of major ship components.

TR, along with embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8 and Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 2, completed a seven-and-a-half month deployment in April during which they deployed to the Gulf of Oman in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The ship also made a historic visit to Cape Town, South Africa, and a port call in Portsmouth, England.

After successful completion of all mission requirements Theodore Roosevelt arrived at Naval Station Norfolk on May 30 and began the transition period from an operational front-line, surge capable aircraft carrier into a complex maintenance period where just about every space will undergo refurbishment to sustain the next 25 years of service. Referred to as the "Smart Start" period, Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding and other maintenance activities were able to get a jump start and prepare TR for entering drydock.

"The Smart Start period allowed the crew and the shipyard to begin building the foundation work on a successful RCOH," according to Cmdr. Gunter Braun, TR's chief engineer. "Based on the results the foundation for success is well-rooted."

Theodore Roosevelt, a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, was commissioned Oct. 25, 1986. The 1,092-foot ship weighs 101,000 tons and carries a crew of approximately 3,200.