NORFOLK (NNS) -- USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) and Amphibious Squadron 11 personnel talked to 4th and 5th graders in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) program at Campostella Elementary School in Norfolk, Va., Apr. 1.
TR Executive Officer Capt. Douglas C. Verissimo, Operations Officer Cmdr. James M. Landas and Navigator Cmdr. Roger L. Curry, used their resident knowledge and real world application in these STEM fields to educate the students about the recent disasters in Japan and the Navy's mission there.
"It's great to expose this stuff early to the STEM students," said Verissimo. "We can provide the Navy perspective on how the Navy can help since we are on the water, and go from land mass to land mass and help people in many different ways. We use science and technology in our ships, and our people make that happen."
The three senior officers from TR used a power-point presentation combined with hands on practical exercises to comprehensively explain the earthquakes and tsunami affecting Japan, as well as how the Navy is providing assistance.
Landas explained that Japan is 6,500 miles away from Virginia. He also explained the implications and causes of the earthquake and tsunami through geological references which the children could grasp.
Curry used his navigational experience to explain to the children how the weather played a big role in the ordeal, and how the weather affects movements of ships such as TR.
"We have numerous ships stationed around the area affected, so we were able to get assistance there in a timely manner," said Landas, who holds a minor in geology.
"We, as the Navy, are a global force for good," said Curry. "We're not just a combat force, we'll do what we can to help people when there's a disaster somewhere, or people are in need and we have the resources."
The students responded to the presentation with many inquisitive and intelligent questions. One student asked, "What's the safest place in an earthquake?"
Some of the answers came over the phone from Japan by Capt. Brad Lee, commodore of Amphibious Squadron 11, forward deployed in Sasebo, Japan. Lee is in charge of the Navy's amphibious ships currently conducting Japan's post-tsunami operations.
Lee agreed to call the school to answer questions the students might have about the tsunami.
"When I heard that the kids were learning about the Navy's post-tsunami relief effort as part of their STEM education, I knew I wanted to facilitate that learning," said Lee.
Lee, said he spent much of day conducting boat operations in support of the relief effort, but was able to field about 10 questions from the children before retiring for the evening.
"I like the benefit that our students see leaders in the community, see people in uniform; it's important that they get to see role models," said Nicole Moses, a 5th grade teacher at Campostella. "I think it's important to see that the individuals in the Navy are people just like us, and that they have [a global reach]."
The hour-long presentation gave the students a wealth of information that they were able to take away.
"I really appreciated that it helped me form an understanding of how the Navy was able to help people with the resources we have," said 5th grader Christian L. Hawkins.
Theodore Roosevelt is currently undergoing its scheduled mid-life Refueling Complex Overhaul (RCOH) at Newport News Shipyard, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries. During the 39-month maintenance period, TR's fuel will be replenished and significant upgrades will be made to the ship's combat and communication systems to extend the ship's service life for 25 or more years. All Nimitz-class aircraft carriers go through RCOH near the mid-point of their 50-year life cycle.
For more information contact Lt. Cmdr. Karen Eifert, TR public affairs officer at email@example.com, or (757) 676-2610.
For more news from USS Theodore Roosevelt, visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn71/.