NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) held a "stepping the mast" ceremony aboard the carrier's flight deck at Northrop Grumman Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, Va., Feb. 28.
The ceremony featured guest of honor and great-grandson of the ship's namesake, Tweed Roosevelt, along with USS Theodore Roosevelt Commanding Officer Capt. William J. Hart and Jim Hughes, Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding aircraft carrier overhauls and fleet support vice president.
"I feel like an honorary crew member," said Tweed Roosevelt. "The bond between the ship and the Roosevelt family is deep and affectionate. I relish any chance to get on board, even during an overhaul."
In addition to recognizing a physical change for the ship, the ceremony also linked the Sailors of the past with those of the future. During their presentations, Roosevelt and Hart talked to the ship's youngest Sailor, Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Shanice Winston, who just turned 18. They said she represents the future, and where the ship is headed.
"I think it's very important we commemorate the stepping of the mast because it is a linkage between crews past, the current crew and the crew of the future," said Hart. "As we're stepping the mast and rebuilding the ship, the story and legacy of the ship being involved in almost every major conflict in the past 25 years is passed on. Now the current crew picks up that legacy and has to build the ship and start building the new reputation of Theodore Roosevelt."
The ceremony culminated with the long-standing naval tradition of stepping the mast which involves the welding of a plaque and time capsule to the ship's new mast, which was landed Feb. 24.
Seventy-one cents went into the time capsule signifying the ship's hull number, along with "challenge" coins from the TR Mustangs and other organizations throughout the ship. In addition to the coins, the capsule also contained historical markers like newspapers and a summary of current events. A boatswain's pipe, a surface warfare pin, and the newest warfare pin for information dominance were also placed in the time capsule.
TR's partnership with local elementary schools was also represented in the time capsule by including signed photographs, and essays from 54 students predicting what the future would be like in 25 years.
"As we place the time capsule our crew is setting the groundwork for the crew and for those over the next 25 years to carry out not only TR's name legacy, but the great history of the ship," said Hart.
Roosevelt said that his family is committed to do anything it can to support the ship and the crew's morale.
"I am delighted to come back once again to the ship to see how she is progressing," said Roosevelt. "The family is gratified that she will be able to carry on in her grand tradition for at least another quarter of a century. Theodore Roosevelt would be most proud of her stellar past record and would expect no less from her in the future."
For more news from USS Theodore Roosevelt, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/cvn71/.