USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), flagship for Carrier Strike Group 2 (CSG2), completed its first work-up cycle, Dec. 20, following a nine-month Planned Incremental Availability (PIA).
The strike group, including USS Monterey (CG 61), USS The Sullivans (DDG 68), USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55) and USS Mason (DDG 87), sailed together for the first time, Dec. 17, just three weeks after Roosevelt's departure from Norfolk Naval Shipyard.
"It's a testament not only to the leadership of the individual units involved, but to the Sailors on the deck plates," said Commander, Carrier Strike Group 2, Chief of Staff, Capt. Brad Williamson. "It's a group of people whose only focus is to get the job done."
Williamson praised Roosevelt's operational readiness following the PIA.
"You have taken a carrier that had just come out of a PIA, finished sea trials and two days later they are operating aircraft, finishing flight deck certification, completing carrier qualifications and moving into cyclic operations. That is really an amazing thing," said Williamson.
During this cycle, Roosevelt's Carrier Air Wing qualified 81 pilots and completed 321 day traps and 169 at night for a combined 490 traps.
"I think the most important thing is that every one of the events on all the ships has been done safely," said Williamson.
Leaders say being able to bring each of the elements of the strike group together for a group sail this early in the work-up cycle puts CSG2 ahead of the curve for upcoming evolutions, including a future deployment.
"We get a jump on our preparations before we go into Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX), Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFX), and most importantly, deployment," said Commander, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 22, Capt. Chris Grady. "You have to be impressed with the way the ship has performed, and by how well they have been able to integrate not just with the air wing, but the strike group staff, the small boys operating with us and my staff."
An additional benefit of bringing the strike group together early is it gives the staff a chance to find out where the problems are so they know what to expect and how to fix them before the regularly scheduled deployment.
"We do have issues," said Williamson. "We are taking a carrier three weeks after a major availability and pushing it pretty hard, but we are identifying these problems at an early stage so it gives us more time to correct them and work through them."
Williamson quoted former president Harry S. Truman in saying "it's amazing what you can accomplish when you don't care who gets the credit."
"That's what I see right now, the [Carrier Air Wing Commander], the CO of the [Roosevelt] and the [DESRON] commodore have personalities where they don't care who gets the credit, they just want to get the job done," Williamson added.
For more news from Theodore Roosevelt, visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn71/.