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U.S.S. Roosevelt returns home after a months-long deployment

In February, the authorities on the ship announced that three sailors tested positive for COVID-19 while in the South China Sea.

SAN DIEGO — Tuesday was a big day for many families of our service members as the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt returned home from its most recent deployment.

The U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt departed San Diego for a scheduled deployment to the Indo-Pacific on December 23, 2020.

The honor of getting off the USS Theodore Roosevelt for a first hug and first kiss went to Navy E6 Jerelle Alexander.

"A lot of emotions are running through my mind, but I am just happy that I did get to win that and did get this opportunity to spend with my wife,” Alexander said.

It was the married Alexander couple's first deployment and Juan Marquez's possible last deployment, he announced alongside his 9-year-old daughter Alessandra and while holding his baby boy.

"He's a little over two months old, and I am just happy to be here," Marquez said.

“Whether it was operating in the Indo-Pacific and the South China Sea or high northern latitudes in the Gulf of Alaska, Carrier Strike Group Nine demonstrated that the U.S. Navy is ready for anything,” said Rear Adm. Doug Verissimo, commander, Carrier Strike Group Nine. “We met the challenges that COVID-19 brought head-on and successfully deployed forward to work with our allies and partners from Australia, India, Japan, Malaysia, and South Korea.”

In support of allies and partners, Theodore Roosevelt conducted bilateral exercises with the Indian Navy and Air Force, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, Royal Australian Navy, Republic of Korea Navy, and the Royal Malaysian Air Force, focusing on building capabilities and increasing combat readiness to win the high-end fight. In May, Theodore Roosevelt participated in exercise Northern Edge 2021 in the Gulf of Alaska.

“I am incredibly proud of this crew for all their hard work and sacrifice throughout this deployment,” said Capt. Eric Anduze, commanding officer of Theodore Roosevelt. “Our presence in the Indo-Pacific had a significant impact on maintaining stability and security in the region that would not have been possible without every single Sailor aboard.”

In February, the authorities on the ship announced that three sailors tested positive for COVID-19 while in the South China Sea. The positives came after the same ship experienced a COVID outbreak on board in March 2020. Back then more than 1,200 crew contracted COVID-19 after a stop in Vietnam.

Two sailors died with at least one from COVID-19.

The ship was forced to stop in Guam and quarantine sailors in several locations on the island. It also led to the former commanding officer, Captain Brett Crozier being relieved of his duties after the way he warned the Navy about the outbreak.

The crew of sailors came home in July of 2020 to a much different homecoming that had a ton of the usual traditions scrapped for safety and COVID-19 protocols.

"When I walked off the ship last year, I was not able to go up and kiss my wife in front of the press. while this crew in this deployment, they have had the vaccine available to them for over a month," said Rear Adm. Doug Verissimo.

ABH3, or Navy aviation boatswain mate Jason Jenkins was elated to see and hold his 2-month old baby girl Sage for the first time.

"It feels amazing, it made all the time I was gone worth it. Crazy, I never thought this day would come for real," he said.

Jenkins has served in the Navy for three years. He and his wife Jarielle Jenkins are excited that he will be home to celebrate his first Father’s Day next month. He is also planning on enjoying some Mexican food for his first Taco Tuesday back in San Diego.

Roosevelt’s homecoming comes just days after the homecomings of the USS Makin Island, USS San Diego and USS Somerset. All ships conducted freedom of navigation exercises in the South China Sea.  

Watch: U.S.S. Roosevelt returning home after a months-long deployment


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