Wednesday, April 4, 2018

US Navy aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt pulls into Singapore for first port call since leaving the Arabian Gulf

A powerful force of United States Navy warships, centred on the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), is now in Singapore for their first port visit since leaving the Arabian Gulf.

More than 6,000 sailors, naval aviators and US Marines from the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group (TRCSG) sailed into Singapore's Changi Naval Base, on the eastern end of the tiny city-state, from Monday 2 April 2018. The carrier and her escorts recently wrapped up their commitment to Operation Inherent Resolve, which provided naval airpower for missions in the Middle East and also over Afghanistan.

The flatop is said to be headed for US Naval Base Coronado in San Diego following her Singapore stopover and is likely to make her presence felt in the South China Sea and other ports during her home-bound voyage.

Her stopover in Singapore was accompanied by a press release announcing the aircraft carrier's visit - which is not the norm for all port visits to Singapore by US Navy aircraft carriers as some hulls have come and gone with no publicity.

"It is great to be back in the U.S. 7th Fleet and have the ability to visit another port here during deployment, and we couldn't be more excited to be here," said Rear Admiral Steve Koehler, commander, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 9, in a US Navy statement. "The U.S. and Singapore have a strong navy-to-navy relationship and we look forward to our time in port to continue to build on that connection in many ways."

Prior to coming alongside in Singapore, the TRCSG conducted a passage exercise with the Indian Navy. The ship also embarked a number of Malaysian Armed Forces personnel for a closer look at the carrier during her trip down the Malacca Strait.

The full complement of the carrier's surface escorts, comprising a cruiser and three destroyers, have since joined the flattop pierside at Changi. These include the guided-missile cruiser, USS Bunker Hill (CG-52) and the guided-missile destroyers Preble (DDG-88),  Halsey (DDG-97) and Sampson (DDG-102), grouped under Destroyer Squadron 23. Unseen at Changi but thought to be lurking in the vicinity is a nuclear-powered attack submarine that usually accompanies a carrier strike group.

The carrier has aboard warplanes and naval helicopters that form Carrier Air Wing 17. In December 2017, the carrier launched warplanes for missions in two distinct geographical areas on the same day, with some missions flown over the Middle East even as air strikes were conducted over Afghanistan in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel.

While on their first liberty call in months, the men and women aboard TR will play their part in naval diplomacy this evening when they host a reception in the carrier's hangar bay.

Ashore in the Lion City, the American warfighters-turned-tourists will provide a boost to the city-state in many ways.

A US Navy statement said that during the port visit, sailors and Marines will volunteer off-duty time to assist local charitable organizations and participate in community relations. Sailors will also have liberty, time to travel around the city, and cultural exchanges during Morale, Welfare and Recreation-sponsored tours.

"U.S. 7th Fleet port calls are both rich tourism opportunities for the crew and important relationship-building opportunities with the host nations," said Capt. Carlos Sardiello, Theodore Roosevelt's commanding officer. "Sailors have an opportunity to get some well-deserved rest and enjoy the vibrant cultures as they continue deployment."

The aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt dwarfs her escorts, Halsey (DDG-97) and Preble (DDG-88) at Changi Naval Base in Singapore.

Seen off the carrier's starboard bow are her escorts, the guided-missile destroyer, USS Preble (DDG-88), guided-missile cruiser, USS Bunker Hill and the guided-missile destroyer USS Samson (DDG-102).

A MH-60 Seahawk in distinctive warpaint from Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 73.

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