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USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71)

USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71)

The Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) is a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier serving in the United States Navy. Named for President Theodore Roosevelt (who was also Assistant Secretary of the Navy under his predecessor, William McKinley), the "Big Stick" was commissioned in October 1986 and is currently based out of NS Norfolk.


Roosevelt is a "supercarrier" (a term applied to aircraft carriers exceeding a thousand feet in length and displacing over 76,000 tons), powered by two A4W nuclear reactors manufactured by Westinghouse. The reactors, which were specially designed for the Nimitz-class, turn four steam turbines capable of propelling the massive vessel at speeds of up to thirty knots (approximately 35 MPH).

At her flight deck, Roosevelt measured 1,092 feet in length with a beam of 252 feet. Total displacement is 117,200 tons, making her one of the heaviest vessels afloat. The vessel's crew compliment consists of 3,200 officers and seamen and 2,480 aviation personnel. The fourth Nimitz carrier to be built, Roosevelt differs from the first three slightly in having added security in areas where explosives are stored. The vessel's keel was laid at the Newport News Shipbuilding Company in October 1981; she was launched almost exactly three years later.

Repairs and Upgrades

Roosevelt sailed on active duty for eight-and-a-half years before her first major overhaul, though a period of minor maintenance took place between November 1993 and April 1994 at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. In July 1997, she returned to the yard where she was built for twelve months of significant maintenance and repairs.

Roosevelt went into the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in January 2000 for a six-month "Planned Incremental Availability" (PIA) during which regular maintenance is carried out as time and resources allow. This was followed up by another yard period at the same facility from April to October 2002.

Another PIA was carried out starting in February 2005 and keeping her at the Norfolk facility for most of the year. During this period, Roosevelt underwent overhaul for almost every major system as well as cosmetic work (new paint and hull scraping).

Roosevelt's most recent PIA at Norfolk was between March and November of 2007, during which the vessel's weapons were upgraded. In August 2009, defense contractor Northrop-Grumman (Newport News) was given a no-bid contract to carry out a $2.4 billion overhaul of Roosevelt’s fueling systems and general renovations. The work is expected to be completed in 2013.

Wartime Service

Roosevelt entered service in December 1988. Her maiden deployment took her to the Mediterranean and Persian Gulf through June 1989.

The carrier was ordered to the Persian Gulf in December 1990 for Operation Desert Shield. When hostilities finally broke out in mid-January 1991, her crew entered combat for the first time as her air wing flew more than 4200 missions over the course of the six-week conflict.

In 1993 and 1995, Roosevelt was active in the Mediterranean off the coast of Bosnia and later in the Red Sea, enforcing "no-fly zones" in both areas. During the latter deployment when conflict broke out in the former Yugoslavia, pilots of her air wing flew missions against Serbian positions in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

During the six months prior to her first major overhaul, Roosevelt was deployed in the eastern Mediterranean and Red Sea as part of Operation Southern Watch. In 1999, Roosevelt took part in a large battle simulation exercise with the navies of Brazil and several NATO countries. The carrier was declared "sunk" by a Dutch submarine. Afterwards, the carrier proceeded to the Mediterranean for combat operations in Kosovo.

Since 2001, Roosevelt has been deployed to the Middle East four times, participating in routine operations and battle-readiness exercises between missions when not undergoing maintenance and repairs.

Asbestos Risk on the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71)

Having been constructed at a time when the dangers of asbestos were apparent and its use was being phased out, asbestos exposure is not likely to have been an issue aboard Roosevelt.

Installing asbestos-containing materials in the design of marine ships was ordered by law in the United States in the early 1930s, after a deadly fire on a luxury liner caused the deaths of more than 100 passengers and crew. When asbestos insulation becomes worn it becomes friable, meaning that individual fibers can break off and enter the atmosphere, and then are inhaled or ingested by crewmen and repair workers, potentially leading to the development of mesothelioma.

At present the survival rate of mesothelioma patients is not high - but treatment approaches including mesothelioma surgery provide hope and often increase survival time. If you or someone you know has developed mesothelioma, be advised that there are legal options that can be pursued and choosing a good mesothelioma attorney can help you determine a course of action. Accurate information on mesothelioma cancer isn't always easy to find, so to help we've written a mesothelioma information package with information about legal options and treatment options, and a list of open clinical trials all over the U.S. All you have to do is submit the form on this page and we will mail you the kit, at no charge.

Author: Linda Molinari

Editor in Chief, Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance

Linda Molinari


N/A. "Contract: Navy." U.S. Department of Defense Press Release, 26 August 2009 Retrieved 23 December 2010.

N/A. "USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT CVN 71." U.S. Carriers Updated 09 December 2010. Retrieved 23 December 2010.

Polmar, Norman. The Naval Institute Guide to the Ships and Aircraft of the U.S. Fleet. (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2004).