Theodore Roosevelt on First Post-COVID Carrier Qualifications

September 23, 2020 = USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) departed Naval Air Station North Island, Sept. 23, to test the ship’s capabilities and to complete fleet replacement squadron carrier qualifications (FRS CQ).

This is the first time the ship has been underway since returning from a scheduled deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations, July 9.

“It is very gratifying to be able to return TR to sea,” said Capt. Eric Anduze, Theodore Roosevelt’s commanding officer. “Getting underway, seeing the professionalism of the crew firsthand and supporting the FRS squadrons during carrier qualifications is a great way to demonstrate once again what the TR team can do.”

“The ship just completed a maintenance period and the crew is ready to return to sea,” said Cmdr. Zachary Harry, Theodore Roosevelt’s chief engineering officer. “The improved material condition of the ship and the proficiency our Sailors developed during last deployment is a recipe for continued success.”

During FRS CQ Theodore Roosevelt will qualify pilots from the “Flying Eagles” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 122 and the “Vikings” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 129. The “Eightballers” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 8 are also embarked aboard the ship in support of carrier operations.

During carrier qualifications, a pilot must hone the skills needed to take off and land fixed-wing aircraft on an aircraft carrier, relying on the systems and personnel on the ship to safely guide them to the flight deck during both day and nighttime operations. Completing FRS CQ facilitates improved crew proficiency while returning Theodore Roosevelt to sea as a ready, credible naval asset capable of projecting power over the horizon.

“Conducting carrier qualifications for two fleet replacement squadrons has a two-fold benefit,” continued Anduze. “It generates readiness for the fleet by providing aviators capable of supporting currently deployed squadrons and it sharpens the skills of my crew before we set sail over the horizon again in support of our nation’s defense.”

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