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USS Theodore Roosevelt returns to San Diego after undergoing major upgrades

The aircraft carrier departed Bremerton, Washington, on March 17, shifting its homeport back to San Diego.

SAN DIEGO — The USS Theodore Roosevelt is back home in San Diego after spending 18 months undergoing renovations in Washington State. The ship arrived to Naval Base North Island with nearly 3,000 Sailors on board.

It’s now the third aircraft carrier based in San Diego.

As soon as it appeared off our coast, anticipation for those awaiting its return was mounting.

"It's exciting. Very exciting and so cool to see,” said Tracey Love.

Love had never been to a homecoming before. Even though she's been able to see her husband a few times since he's been gone that's nothing compared to having him stationed back in San Diego.

"Very excited for him to be home here. I'm glad they're here," said Love.

The USS Theodore Roosevelt stretches two and half football fields long and is nearly as tall as San Diego City Hall.

The 36-year-old ship has spent the past 18 months at a shipyard in Washington State where it had its combat systems modernized and its flight deck retrofitted to accommodate various aircraft. The crew's living quarters and onboard bathrooms were also redone, as well as preventative maintenance and restoration of the ship's hull, rudders and rudder shafts.

"I'm very proud of the crew.  I'm very proud of all we've accomplished," said the ship's commander, Captain Brian Schrum.

Captain Schrum not only acknowledged the hard work his crew put into this project, but also the importance of ensuring good morale while doing so.

Over the past 18 months, there were a reported three suicides aboard the ship.

Extra mental health resources were brought in to help people cope.

"Keeping morale up is something that is in the forefront of my mind and it's not just me as the commanding officer. It's the sailors themselves. They're able to feed off each other and keep the morale as high as possible," said Captain Schrum.

While most of the crew members families relocated to Washington with them, others stayed behind. For them, this homecoming was extra special.

Watch Related: USS Theodore Roosevelt returns to San Diego after undergoing major upgrades 

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