America's 'Big Stick' Celebrates Navy's 234th Birthday

Story Number: NNS091014-15Release Date: 10/14/2009 2:08:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Austin Rooney, USS Theodore Roosevelt Public Affairs

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- Sailors aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (TR) (CVN 71) celebrated the Navy's 234th birthday Oct. 13 as the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier is undergoing a major mid-life overhaul in Newport News, Va.

"As the U.S. Navy celebrates 234 years of history, we on TR can celebrate our recent part in that history, from our seven-plus month deployment to the combat zone to our very successful arrival and start to this critical refueling and complex overhaul in the shipyard," said TR's commanding officer, Capt. Ladd Wheeler. "I am confident that TR will continue to make history throughout this maintenance period and most certainly as the ship is returned to the fleet for the second half of her 50-year life."

To celebrate the Navy's heritage, TR's culinary specialists prepared a special birthday meal.

The Navy's birthday is a celebration of our history and how far we've come over time," said Lt. Cmdr. Duane Dunivan, TR's assistant maintenance officer.

The United States Navy traces its beginnings back to Oct. 13, 1775, when it was known as the Continental Navy. Though it started as a small anti-piracy force, the U.S. Navy is now the largest navy in the world, and has a battle fleet tonnage greater than the next 13 largest navies combined.

"The Navy has had years of good service, and has made more history than I could even begin to imagine," said Machinist's Mate 3rd Class John Bui. "I'm glad to be a part of that tradition."

Ship's Serviceman Seaman Janet Gutierrez said she thinks tradition is a very important part of the Navy. "The Navy is [as great as it is] because of tradition," said Gutierrez. "Change is expected, but tradition should always continue."

Theodore Roosevelt, a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, was commissioned Oct. 25, 1986. The 1,092-foot ship is currently undergoing a planned refueling complex overhaul at Northrop Grumman Newport News Shipbuilding.

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