The Scoop Deck

It still floats

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We’ll let the picture tell the story: The carrier Theodore Roosevelt got underway Saturday for the first time in nearly two years when it left its dry dock at Newport News Shipbuilding and entered James River in southeast Virginia.

USS Theodore Roosevelt, assisted by tug boats, transits via the James River as the ship relocates from dry dock 11 to pier 3 at Newport News Shipbuilding May 21. //U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Sean Hurt

The move comes in the midst of the carrier’s ongoing 39-month refueling complex overhaul, which began in August 2009 at Newport News, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries. The work aims to add another 25 years of life to the nuclear-powered carrier, which was commissioned in 1986.

The carrier was pushed by five tugs during the very short, yet very slow, evolution. “It’s like watching a cloud move,” said Lt. Cmdr. Karen Eifert, the carrier’s public affairs officer. The short trip, however, required a lot of planning; the carrier’s quartermaster team had been training for the movement since March, according to a Navy news release.

“Without teamwork there is no way this evolution could have been completed successfully,” said Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class (SW/AW) Jesus Lopez, Deck Department’s 2nd division assistant leading petty officer, quoted in the news release. “This is my second time taking a ship out of dry dock and I know first-hand what it takes. It takes every sailor onboard TR working together and having each other’s back and completing their jobs together.”

Back where it belongs … in the water

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Twenty months in dry dock will end Saturday, May 21, when the carrier Theodore Roosevelt checks out of Dry Dock 11 at Newport News Shipbuilding (so nice to be able to use the simple name again, though we should note that the yard is a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries …) to a pierside location for the remainder of its 39-month refueling complex overhaul.

The Theodore Roosevelt's XO, Capt. Douglas C. Verissimo (left) stands by the ship's commanding officer, Capt. Billy Hart, to watch the initial stage of flooding the dry dock. // Navy photo by Mass Communications Seaman John Kotara

The hull actually got wet again beginning on May 16, when the shipyard flooded the dock for testing.

When the ship actually becomes fully afloat Saturday, the short trip to the pier will be TR’s first “underway” since it entered the shipyard in August 2009.

Since then, the Navy says the ship’s shafts, propellers, rudders, anchors, catapults and arresting gear machinery have been replaced or refurbished.

“Team Theodore Roosevelt has shown exemplary dedication in preparingthis ship for its return to the water,” said Capt. Billy Hart, TR’s commanding officer. “As we rebuild TR space by space and restore function to every system, sailors will shape the ship to serve the nation for 25 more years to come.”

So far, TR sailors have put in a ton of work. They’ve completed more than4,500 individual refurbishing and rehabilitation tasks and expended more than 1.15 million man-hours of labor, according to TR Chief Engineer Cmdr. Gunter Braun.

The crew is scheduled to move back aboard next year.

Another XO video — but this one’s G-rated

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The executive officer of the carrier Theodore Roosevelt has narrated a new ship-produced video that has popped up on YouTube. The Navy’s probably happier with this video than some other recent ones.

Narrated by the XO, Capt. Douglas Verissimo, and featuring his CO, Capt. William Hart, in a walk-on part, the video touts the carrier’s ongoing Refueling and Complex Overhaul at Newport News Shipbuilding.

Verissimo supplies dramatic narration over images of sailors wielding welding torches and needle guns, all working “to prepare for another 25 years of vital missions to come.”

“Join us as we prepare to return to the fleet,” says Hart at the video’s conclusion. “Theodore Roosevelt’s getting ready.”

The aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt departs Naval Station Norfolk Sept. 29, 2009, and begins a towing operation to Newport News Shipbuilding for a Refueling and Complex Overhaul. // Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy

The video is meant “to inform and inspire the ship’s prospective crew members, current TR Sailors and the nation of the momentous efforts involved in rebuilding the ship and returning her to the fleet,” according to a press release.

“We have a very strong crew, doing great things every day, and we are rightfully very proud of our efforts to return this battle-tested carrier back to operations in the fleet,” said Hart. “This video is our way of reminding the nation and our sailors we are in an extended overhaul right now, but we’ll be back even stronger and more ready than we were when we came into the yards.”