Surfing around the World

Surfer Photo

     Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Garrett Edwards had been a surfer for five years when some of his fellow Sailors expressed an interest in learning as well. After some negotiations with the Fun Boss and his chain of command, he decided that forming a club, where he could teach a larger group, would be better than trying to teach each Sailor individually.

     Edwards started the first surf club on board the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), where he is stationed.

   “There are no real prerequisites, as long as you know how to swim, but you don’t have to be 2nd Class swim qualified,” said Edwards.

     Edwards is working with Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) to schedule fundraisers that will help pay for surf boards so club members do not have to buy their own.

     “My plan, as of right now, is to have events out in Norfolk, teach people how to surf and do some fundraisers here,” said Edwards. “When we go on deployment, I plan to continue to teach people when we make port calls, that way, as a group, we can experience surfing around the world.”

     Edwards is also working with the Life Rolls On Foundation to organize surf club participation in an event schedule for Aug. 9. The Life Rolls on Foundation teaches wounded veterans and others with disabilities how to surf.

     Ultimately, Edwards would like to see the surf club grow beyond the steely confines of TR and spread to other ships on Norfolk’s waterfront.

     “My plan for this is to not only set up a surf club on our ship but also on other [ships],” said Edwards. “That way we can have some friendly competition between our ship and others at the base.”

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By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman William Spears, USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Public Affairs

Landing by the Guiding Light


     Sailors assigned to the Visual Landing Aids (VLA) shop in Air Department’s V2 division onboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) play an integral role in the complex series of events crucial to safely land aircraft.

     The VLA shop has two responsibilities; safely recover aircraft and archive mishaps.

     “We provide a recording of any incidents or casualties that might occur on the flight deck,” said Interior Communications Electrician 2nd Class Theresa Porter, the Improved Fresnel Lens Optical Landing System (IFLOLS) work center supervisor. “We also guide the pilot in for a safe recovery utilizing [IFLOLS].”

     “IFLOLS is the group of lights that the pilot is looking at in order to land at a safe angle on the flight deck,” said Porter.

     Sailors in VLA initiate IFOLS when a returning pilot is about a mile away from the ship.

   IFLOLS, or just ‘the Lens,’ gives pilots a visual reference of what the ship is doing to land safely. It consists of green horizontal and red vertical fiber optic lights on both sides of the center light, or the “meatball.” Pilots consider this the most important part of the system.

     “If the Lens is set wrong, it could kill somebody,” said Cmdr. Daniel Case, former air boss of Theodore Roosevelt.

     VLA also operates the ships Integrated Launch and Recovery Television System (ILARTS).

     “ILARTS is a high definition surveillance system with [10] cameras mounted strategically all over the flight deck,” said Interior Communications Electrician 2nd Class Erik Bracker. “These cameras constantly monitor and record all flight operations from fixed wing recoveries to VERTREP helo ops.”

     The Landing Signal Officer (LSO) watches an ILARTS video feed from a camera located aft on the centerline of the ship to make sure the aircraft is coming in correctly along the final bearing, said Porter.

     “[The LSO is] talking to the pilot, watching that screen as the pilot’s coming in to make sure it’s in the center of [the] crosshair system,” said Porter.

     The electronic crosshair stabilization system overlays a crosshair on the video which the LSO monitors. The LSO communicates to the pilot their position as he or she sees it on the screen, trying to keep the aircraft in the center. They tell the pilot whether they’re too high or too low, if they should adjust right or left.

     If the LSO feels the pilot isn’t coming in safely they waive the pilot off and have him circle around and try again.

     Landing on an aircraft carrier is often described as the toughest task for a Navy pilot. Even with technology that aids pilots in a safe recovery, Sailors remain essential to mission success.

Join the conversation with TR online at and For more news from USS Theodore Roosevelt, visit

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (IDW/AW/SW) Eric Lockwood, USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Public Affairs

TR Sailors Bid Farewell to a Fallen Shipmate

USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT, At Sea (April 10, 2014) - Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) 1st Class Leslie Hammond stands watch over the casket of Interior Communications Electrician 1st Class Leticia Jones in the hangar bay aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). A burial at sea ceremony was conducted later that day. Theodore Roosevelt is currently underway preparing for future deployments. (U.S. photo byMass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Eric Cutright/Released)

Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) laid to rest one of their own in a burial at sea ceremony April 10.


Interior Communications Electrician 1st Class Leticia Jones was a member of Air Department’s V-2 division onboard TR from November 2011 to August 2013.


“It was very emotional,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Kapri Ragin. “I’ve known her since she first got here. She was great. I’m going to miss her a lot.”


“She was a great leader,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) 1st Class Shane McNutt, a casket bearer for the ceremony. “Younger people looked up to her, and she was like a sister to me. She will be missed,” said McNutt.  


Capt. Daniel C. Grieco, commanding officer of Theodore Roosevelt, and Cmdr. Ryan Rupe, chaplain aboard TR, spoke at the ceremony.


“It is with honor and humility that USS Theodore Roosevelt commits to the sea Interior Communications Electrician 1st Class Leticia Jones, our shipmate. We honor the legacy of service, commitment and honor that this Sailor provided to her country,” said Grieco.


Burial at sea is an ancient Naval tradition and a sacred honor. The ceremony is available to active duty members of the armed services, retirees and veterans who were honorably discharged. It is also available to U.S. civilian marine personnel of the Military Sealift Command, and dependents of active duty service members.  


“It is still very important to have a sacred moment to say farewell to our shipmates,” said Rupe. “In this way we can honor the wish of our fellow Sailor, give their family some comfort as they grieve and give all of our crew members a chance to say goodbye for one last time.”


Click here to view additional photos of the ceremony.


By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jenna Kaliszewski, USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Public Affairs

TR Sailors Pledge to ‘Step Up, Stand Out’ Against Sexual Assault


    NORFOLK (April 7, 2014) – Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore
Roosevelt (CVN 71) kicked off Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) with a
cake-cutting ceremony and pledge-signing in the ship’s wardroom, April 7.

     During the event, Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) team victim
advocate Machinist Mate 2nd Class Brittanye Boswell spoke about what it
means to her to be a victim advocate.

     “I chose to become a victim advocate to help people,” said Boswell. “The
most rewarding part of being a victim advocate is knowing that I am helping

     SAPR victim advocates respond to victims of sexual assault to provide
information and explain reporting options. Victim advocates also support
victims during medical, investigative and legal proceedings.

     During the event, Sailors were asked to pledge their commitment to stop
sexual assault.

     “I decided to make up the pledge ‘Step up and Stand out’,” said Aviation
Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) 1st Class Harrison Moorer. “For far too long,
people have sat down on the issue. It was time for me to step up and stand
up for what is right. These pledges are important because one person can
make a difference, but many people can make a change. The more people who
are involved the louder a voice we will be against sexual assault.”

     Throughout the month of April, TR’s SAPR team will hold events to bring
awareness to sexual assault.

     One of the planned events will be a photo booth on the mess decks, Tuesdays
and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., where SAPR representatives will ask
Sailors to make a pledge to stop sexual assault. Sailors will write this
pledge on a whiteboard and pose for a photo to show that they will not stand
for sexual assault.

     The SAPR team will also host a 5k run later in the month to bring awareness
to the problem of sexual assault in the military.

     “Our goal is to bring awareness to the issue of sexual assault throughout
the month of April in an effort to eradicate the problem from the military,”
said Chief Personnel Specialist Tia Middlebrook. “We want Sailors to have
constant situational awareness. They should know that someone is there for
them and that we cannot look the other way any longer.”

     Click here to view and download high-resolution photos of the event online.

Story by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman William Spears, USS Theodore
Roosevelt (CVN 71) Public Affairs