Sunday, November 23, 2008

USS Theodore Roosevelt Marks 1st Month in Support of Operation Enduring Freedom

An F/A 18 Super Hornet, assigned to the "Blacklions" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 213, flies over the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) during flight operations, November 2008. VFA-213 is assigned to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8. The Theodore Roosevelt Strike Group is on a scheduled deployment to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Cmdr. Johnnie Caldwell.)

Dispatches from the Front:

USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT, At sea, Nov. 23, 2008 -- USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8 concluded their first month of combat missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) after relieving USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) in the Arabian Sea Oct. 18.

Theodore Roosevelt has flown more than 700 sorties into Afghanistan, and dropped more than 12,000 pounds of ordinance providing vital air support to coalition forces operating as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and U.S. Forces Afghanistan.

“We are very proud to play a part in this important cause,” said Rear Adm. Frank Pandolfe, Commander, Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group. “The men and women of our Strike Group are performing their duties with superb skill.”

Every day aircraft from CVW 8 depart the deck of Theodore Roosevelt bound for the skies over Afghanistan to support coalition ground forces with shows of power and presence. ISAF is comprised of more than 52,000 troops from 40 nations.

“We understand that we play a critical role supporting Coalition forces on the ground,” said Capt. Ladd Wheeler, Theodore Roosevelt’s commanding officer. “The crew is performing magnificently.”

As part of its operations, CVW-8 integrates closely with coalition forces to deter Taliban attacks. Should friendly forces come under attack, CVW-8 aircraft are ready to provide close air support and deliver ordnance on enemy positions as designated by aircraft controllers on the ground.

“Air power provides a unique capability in this environment,” said Capt. Kevin “Komrade” Kovacich, Commander, Carrier Air Wing 8. “We are a force multiplier, providing watch overhead and delivering power with precision when required.”

Operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations are focused on reassuring partners of the United States’ commitment to security and stability, which is key to regional and global prosperity.

The squadrons of CVW-8 include the “Tomcatters” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 31, the “Blacklions” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 213, the “Valions” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 15 and the “Golden Warriors” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 87. Other squadrons that make up CVW-8 are the “Shadowhawks” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 141, the “Bear Aces” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 124, the “Rawhides” of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 40 and the “Tridents” of Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron (HS) 3.

TR CSG units also include USS Monterey (CG 61), USS Nitze (DDG 94), USS Mason (DDG 87) and USS The Sullivans (DDG 68), which are deployed throughout the region conducting Maritime Security Operations (MSO).

(Report from a USS Theodore Roosevelt Public Affairs news release.)

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