Deployment-Worn Theodore Roosevelt to Change Homeports, Get F-35 Upgrade

The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt
The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) transits the Arabian Gulf. (U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Alex Millar)

The aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt will change homeports from San Diego, California, to Bremerton, Washington -- taking with it about 3,000 sailors and their families, the Navy announced.

The shift comes after a difficult 18 months for the carrier.

The ship and its crew deployed in January 2020, only to have the cruise derailed by an outbreak of COVID-19. The ship, which ended up spending about one-third of that deployment docked in Guam, saw many crew members moved into hotels and other facilities as it was disinfected. However, the coronavirus spread rampantly among its personnel, eventually infecting about one-quarter of the sailors on the ship.

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The Roosevelt eventually returned home in July but without two crew members, who died on deployment; it also lost its original commanding officer. Capt. Brett Crozier was relieved of command over his handling of an emailed warning about the carrier's growing health crisis as COVID-19 cases began to spread rapidly.

The ship deployed again only five months later, in December 2020; it returned May 25. Now, the Roosevelt is scheduled to make the homeport shift July 16-20.

Once the Roosevelt arrives in Washington, it will undergo a maintenance period starting in September that will feature both refurbishment and upgrades.

The carrier will see a "system retrofit to accommodate the F-35C Lightning II mission capabilities," the Navy said. Once complete, the Roosevelt will be only the second carrier in the service with the ability to carry the Joint Strike Fighter.

The yard period also will involve upgrades to the ship's self-defense system, the Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES) network, and the Mk 38 25mm machine gun, the service said.

The Navy said that about "3,000 Sailors and their families will relocate from San Diego to Bremerton as part of the homeport shift" but offered no other details.

-- Konstantin Toropin can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @ktoropin.

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