NORFOLK (NNS) -- USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Sailors hosted 3,000 friends and family members aboard May 30 for a friends and family day cruise that included tours of the ship, live entertainment and an aerial flight demonstration.
"It gives me a great deal of pleasure to welcome aboard the friends, family, guests and distinguished visitors to our ship on such an exciting day," said Capt. Ladd Wheeler, TR's commanding officer.
"The role that friends and family play in the lives of service members is crucial to our success and today we get to thank them by inviting them to experience a day aboard America's 'big stick.'"
In addition to families and friends, about 700 members of the Theodore Roosevelt Association (TRA) and 200 people from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) were invited to join the activities.
TRA is an organization dedicated to upholding the ideals of the nation's 26th president and maintains ties with the ship and its crew. Former President Theodore Roosevelt was a U.S. civil service commissioner, a forerunner of OPM, and the organization also shares a close bond with the ship.
TR's Morale, Welfare and Recreation provided a plethora of activities.
"We began planning for this event by contacting local businesses and setting up entertainment for everyone," said Joe Gonzalez, of TR's "fun boss". "Some of the highlights were the face painting, which is a hit every year, and the magician, a very talented gentleman who was able to walk around and get everyone involved."
The air power demonstration by the "Gladiators" of Strike Fighter Squadron 106 proved to be the highlight of the day for many.
"The air show was great," said Grace Daniel, whose daughter, Damage Control Fireman Breana Daniel, is stationed aboard TR. "Feeling the rumble of the engines on the jets was amazing."
Cryptologic Technician (Maintenance) 2nd Class ShaCarla Smith invited her mother, aunt and godmother to share her Navy experience.
"I have always enjoyed seeing where my daughter works," said Shari Tilghman-Smith.
"Family is very important, especially in the military," added Arlene Wilder, Smith's aunt. "I was in the Army Reserve, but I have never experienced being on a ship before. After today, I would definitely do something like this again."
For more news from USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn71/.