Aircraft Carrier Sails Through Winter Wonderland


USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT, At Sea -- Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) shoveled the biggest driveway of them all after receiving about three inches of snow Jan. 29, an uncommon occurrence for an underway vessel. 

The same winter storm that blanketed states from as far south as Texas to the Northeast, tying up traffic and closing schools and businesses, draped TR's flight deck with a rare coating of snow.

"I have been on active duty for over 31 years and have never seen snow underway before," said Cmdr. Steven W. Leehe, TR's maintenance officer. "Years ago, I saw some pictures of aircraft landing on a flight deck in a snow storm, but I've never seen it myself."

"I have been on active or Reserve duty for 22 years, and this is my fourth carrier. I have never seen snow on the flight deck underway like this. It's crazy," said Lt. Cmdr. Kevin D. Bittle, maintenance material control officer aboard TR.

Even with the foul weather, Sailors remained on watch as TR conducted training while underway about 115 miles northeast of Norfolk.

"It's been cold up here, but it has been a lot of fun." said Seaman Guerrero, a lookout on vulture's row. "It was very cool to see snow on the deck. I was amazed at just how quickly it covered everything."

From deck seamen to old salts, the snow captivated the crew. 

"We should consider ourselves blessed for every rare and privileged experience our country allows us to enjoy every day. Beautiful snow on an amazing warship, not quite snuggled up with our families at home, but still a great place to serve," said TR's Command Master Chief William Smalts.

TR may be out to sea and the traffic gnarled ashore, but the storm helped bridge the distance between many families and their Sailors through social media.

"I told my daughters their daddy would be able to make a snow angel," said one Sailor's spouse on TR's Facebook page.

TR is underway conducting training in preparation for future deployments.

Show Full Article