USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN 71) is the fourth NIMITZ-class carrier. Her history began on Sept. 30, 1980, when a contract was awarded to Newport News Shipbuilding.
Construction began on Oct. 31, 1981, when Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger authenticated the keel laying of USS ROOSEVELT by initiating the first weld. Capt. Paul W. Parcells was named Prospective Commanding Officer in Feb. 1984 and, that October, the ship was officially christened. On Oct. 25, 1986, CVN 71 was placed in active service.
Capt. Dayton W. Ritt became USS ROOSEVELT`s second Commanding Officer on Oct. 3, 1987, and on Dec. 30, 1988, The carrier started her maiden deployment, which was also the maiden deployment of the first 10-squadron air wing, Carrier Air Wing EIGHT. USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT was awarded the Battle "E" from Commander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, on Mar. 20, 1990.
On Jun. 9, 1990, Capt. Charles S. Abbot became the ship's third Commanding Officer and on Dec. 28, CVN 71 and CVW-8 deployed for Operations DESERT SHIELD. The carrier entered the war on Jan. 9, 1991, eventually flying over 4,200 sorties, more than any other carrier, and dropping over 4,800,000 pounds of ordnance before the cease-fire on Feb. 28.
When Iraqi forces turned on the Kurds, CVN 71 and CVW-8 were among the first coalition forces in Operation PROVIDE COMFORT, flying patrols over northern Iraq. After a 189-day deployment, with 169 days at sea, USS ROOSEVELT returned to Norfolk on Jun. 28, 1991. On Feb. 14, 1992, the ship won its second Battle "E." This was followed by the award of the Battenburg Cup for 1991 as the Atlantic Fleet's premier ship.
Capt. Stanley W. Bryant became USS ROOSEVELT`s fourth Commanding Officer on Aug. 27, 1992. USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT and CVW-8 began their third deployment on Mar. 11, 1993, teamed with the Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force (SPMAGTF) to test the concept of embarking a multi-purpose Marine force in a carrier. CVN 71 hosted President Bill Clinton's first visit to a U.S. Navy ship, then sailed to the Adriatic as CVW-8 planes enforced Operation DENY FLIGHT in the U.S. no-fly zone over Bosnia. In June, on the way to only her second port visit, USS ROOSEVELT was ordered to turn around and transit the Suez Canal enroute to the Red Sea to participate in Operation SOUTHERN WATCH, enforcing the no-fly zone over Iraq.
Deployed for 184 days, CVN 71 spent 169 days underway. Her flight deck logged over 16,000 hours, and CVW-8 flew more sorties than during the Persian Gulf War. For its accomplishments, the ship received its second Meritorious Unit Commendation.
In Nov. 1993, USS ROOSEVELT entered Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) for a Selected Restricted Availability (SRA). Heading back to sea on Apr. 14, 1994, CVN 71 became the first nuclear carrier to complete an SRA ahead of schedule at NNSY.
Awards for 1993 continued. THEODORE ROOSEVELT received the CINCLANTFLT Golden Anchor Award for the best retention in an Atlantic Fleet carrier. On Mar. 10, 1994, USS ROOSEVELT received its third Battle "E".
Then on June 3, CVN 71 was awarded its second Battenburg Cup as the best ship in the Atlantic Fleet.
On Jul. 8, 1994, Capt. Ronald L. Christenson became CVN 71`s fifth Commanding Officer. THEODORE ROOSEVELT and CVW-8 began their fourth deployment on Mar. 1995, operating in the Red Sea in support of Operation SOUTHERN WATCH.
USS ROOSEVELT also provided a "Forward...from the Sea" presence, conducting flight operations in support of Operations DENY FLIGHT and SHARP GUARD over the skies of Bosnia and in the Adriatic operating areas. DENY FLIGHT evolved into Operation DELIBERATE FORCE, as CVW-8 aircraft led NATO strikes against strategic Bosnian Serb targets aboard Sarajevo-Hersegovina. During USS ROOSEVELT`s transit home, Secretary of the Navy John Dalton came aboard and awarded the Theodore Roosevelt Battle Group the Navy Unit Commendation for its Bosnia operations.
In 1996, CVN 71 received its third consecutive Golden Anchor Award and Commander, NavalAir Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet's first Security Excellence Award. CVW-3 joined THEODORE ROOSEVELT in May 1996 prior to her port visit to Halifax, Nova Scotia. On Nov. 1, 1996, Capt.David Architzel became CVN 71`s Sixth Commanding Officer. USS ROOSEVELT deployed for her fifth deployment on Nov. 25, 1996, conducting operations in the Mediterranean and Arabian Gulf in support of Operation SOUTHERN WATCH. On Jul. 8, 1997, CVN 71 entered NNSY for a one-year Extended Drydock and Selected Restricted Availability (EDSRA), her first major overhaul since commissioning. In Feb. 1998, USS ROOSEVELT received her fifth Golden Anchor Award while in the shipyard. One year later, USS ROOSEVELT returned to her homeport at the Norfolk Naval Station.
Capt. David R. Bryant became CVN 71`s seventh Commanding Officer on Sep. 22, 1998. THEODORE ROOSEVELT began her sixth deployment on Mar. 26, 1999 with CVW-8. They were immediately called to duty in the Ionian Sea to support NATO's Operation ALLIED FORCE. ROOSEVELT and CVW-8 aircraft conducted air strikes for two months over the skies of Kosovo against the Serbians. The carrier and CVW-8 were then dispatched to support Operation Southern Watch, enforcing the "no-fly" zone over Southern Iraq and relieving the USS KITTY HAWK. USS ROOSEVELT returned to her homeport of Norfolk, Virginia on Sept 24, 1999.
On January 7, 2000 USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT entered a Planned Incremental Availability at the Norfolk Naval Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, Virginia. This six-month maintenance period ended on June 30, 2000 when the ship departed on sea trials and afterwards entered its Inter-Deployment Training Cycle.
On September 19, 2001, THEODORE ROOSEVELT departed on her seventh deployment to the Mediterranean and Arabian Gulf. As of early February 2002, the ROOSEVELT battle group had been operating at sea for a near-record 140 days without a port call, engaged in air operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. On 19 February 2002, TR broke the record of 152 consecutive days at sea, set by the carrier DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (CVN 69) in 1980. On 27 February 2002, THEODORE ROOSEVELT entered port in Bahrain, where the US has maintenance and recreation facilities, after a record 160 days at sea. In March 2002, the carrier returned home to Norfolk, Va.
The THEODORE ROOSEVELT entered the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth on May 6, 2002, for a 6-month Phased Incremental Availability. Work was completed in October 2002.
From January 13 thru February 4, 2003, the carrier conducted a COMPTUEX in the Caribbean and subsequently set sail for the Mediterranean. During the deployment the carrier participated in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom and returned to Norfolk, Va., on May 29, 2003.
After local operations off the east coast, the ROOSEVELT again entered the Norfolk Naval Shipyard for a 10-month maintenance and upgrade program which lasted from February 19, 2004 thru December 15, 2004.