SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE EAST (NNS) -- The U.S. military's senior officer praised the USS Theodore Roosevelt's (CVN 71) crew members Dec. 21, noting that their efforts are helping to win the war against global terrorism.
Above decks, as thundering Navy F/A-18 Hornets and F-14 Tomcats departed and returned, Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told assembled Sailors they "are making United States' history."
The aircraft carrier, deployed in the Arabian Sea since early October, has been using its strike aircraft to hammer Al Qaeda and Taliban targets in Afghanistan.
The war against terrorism is a different kind of war, Myers told the crew, adding, "You've all been part of that."
The carrier's aviators "are flying their tails off," hitting terrorist positions in Afghanistan, Myers said. The strikes, he added, "have been very, very successful."
The Taliban "are no longer in control in Afghanistan, and to a large extent, you all are responsible for that -- I mean every one of you," Myers told the crew. "I couldn't be prouder of you."
The Taliban had supported Osama bin Laden, the now fugitive leader of the Al Qaeda terrorist network. Bin Laden is believed to have masterminded the Sept. 11 attacks on the New York World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
The war against global terrorism may go on for years, Myers told the crew. But, he added, such an extended war might be prosecuted by other than just military means, to include financial stratagems to dry up terrorists' funding.
Theodore Roosevelt boasts a crew of about 5,500. Many expressed gratitude for the opportunity to see and talk to the Joint Chiefs chairman. "It's good to know our leaders in Washington take the time to visit us, especially during this holiday time of year," said Petty Officer 3rd Class David, one of the crew who flew Myers out to the carrier on a Navy twin-turbo-prop C-2A plane. Only the ranks and first names of interviewed service members deployed to support Operation Enduring Freedom are used in this story due to security reasons.
After completing his visit to Theodore Roosevelt, Myers toured two more U.S. military facilities that day.
At one site, Air Force Airman Aja, a food service specialist, had her picture taken with Myers. She said her meeting with the general "was a great honor," adding that her mother back home is proud of her military service.
The war against global terrorism, Aja emphasized, is worth fighting. "We need a world that is safe to live in, and we shouldn't have to worry about things going on, like the Sept. 11 attacks," she said.
Myers' overseas trip started with NATO meetings in Brussels, Belgium. He then visited troops deployed in the Middle East and elsewhere in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
More information about USS Theodore Roosevelt is available at http://www.spear.navy.mil/tr.