The USS Theodore Roosevelt will depart San Diego July 16 for Bremerton, Washington, where the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier will undergo planned maintenance and upgrades at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, it was announced on Tuesday.
The upgrades are scheduled to be completed this September and will include a system retrofit to accommodate F-35C Lightning II mission capabilities, as well as upgrades to the ship self-defense system, the consolidated afloat networks and enterprise services network and the Mk 38 25mm machine gun, as well as refurbishment and preservation of the ship’s hull, rudder, propulsion shaft, anchor and 25 berthing spaces.
Around 3,000 sailors and their families will relocate from San Diegocto Bremerton as part of the homeport shift. The Theodore Roosevelt is scheduled to arrive in Bremerton on July 20.
A representative for the Navy told NBC 7 on Tuesday that there is a plan for a third carrier to be homeported in San Diego after the USS Theodore Roosevelt permanently departs but the Navy declined to name which ship that would be for security reasons, nore would they provide specifics regarding the timeline for the replacement.
USS Theodore Roosevelt returning to its homeport of San Diego in May following from its second deployment in two years and following a stint in the spotlight due to a COVID-19 outbreak that grounded the ship for months.
The Navy tells NBC7 it is aggressively taking steps to stop the spread after a small number of sailors tested positive on the aircraft carrier, which you may remember is the ship on which more than 1,000 sailors contracted the virus in an outbreak in March, reports NBC 7 military reporter Bridget Naso.
The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier deployed in December 2020 for the South China Sea with about 4,800 sailors. Earlier that year, the Roosevelt was deployed in January 2020 to the Indo-Pacific — just before a pandemic was declared by the World Health Organization.
Just months into the ship’s first deployment, it was stricken by an outbreak of COVID-19, which infected about 1,271 sailors forcing the ship to pull into Guam early and sending half of the ship’s crew to quarantine on land. One crew member died.
Two months went by before the Roosevelt could return to sea.
The Department of Defense’s inspector general blamed the ship’s management team for the outbreak, saying in a watchdog report that commanders failed to enforce social distancing and proper quarantining that aggravated the outbreak.
The incident led to the firing of Capt. Brett Crozier after a letter he sent to navy leadership criticizing their response to the outbreak was leaked to the press. He was replaced by Capt. Carlos Sardiello, who took over as the ship returned to sea in May 2020.
NBC 7’s Danny Freeman shares details and perspective on the multiple hard weeks for sailors aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt.
During its second deployment, three sailors tested positive for COVID-19, leading to the isolation of several sailors. The Navy said, unlike the first time, the Roosevelt was following an aggressive mitigation strategy and no other outbreaks were reported.