TR Rocks and Rolls With a Visit From ‘We the Kings’

150619-N-ZF573-081 ARABIAN GULF (June 19, 2015) - American rock band "We The Kings", performs for Sailors during a Navy Entertainment sponsored event aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). Theodore Roosevelt is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, strike operations in Iraq and Syria as directed, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Chris Brown/Released)

Sailors crowded the deckplates, singing and screaming, as We the Kings rocked the hangar bay aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) during a Navy Entertainment-sponsored concert June19.

The American rock band hails from Bradenton, Florida, and rose to fame after the release of their 2007 self-titled album featuring platinum single, “Check Yes Juliet.”

“I was so excited to hear that the band was going to perform tonight,” said Hospitalman Kasean Mcintosh. “I’m ready to rock and roll and listen to what they’re all about.”

We the Kings kicked off the show with one of their singles, “Any Other Way,” as they invited the crew to be a part of some of their video footage for an upcoming music video to the same tune.

“I’m glad you guys are pumped,” said We the Kings lead singer and guitarist Travis Clark. “It doesn’t matter if you don’t know the words as long as you guys have an incredible time!”

Operations Specialist Seaman Imani Foley said she was glad to push away from her desk to hang out with her friends while having some fun.

“It’s fun to break away from the day-to-day,” Foley said. “It’s not often that we get the opportunity to do something like this while out to sea.”

150619-N-GR120-171 ARABIAN GULF (June 19, 2015) - Sailors and Marines make the hand sign for American rock band "We The Kings" during a Navy Entertainment sponsored event aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). Theodore Roosevelt is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, strike operations in Iraq and Syria as directed, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Anna Van Nuys/Released)

We the Kings played original music, sprinkled in a few covers, and made sure to show their gratitude to the crew.

“I think this is the best show we’ve ever been to,” said Clark. “To think that we’re on this huge ship performing in front of all of you – not to mention all of these jets. It truly is incredible. We’re grateful from the bottom of our hearts for all that you do.”

Following the performance, Sailors formed a line that snaked through the cavernous hangar bay as band members lingered late into the night, signing autographs and taking photos with the crew.

“It looked like everybody had a really good time,” said Information Technician 2nd Class Christopher McCall. “It’s refreshing to have the band on board. It’s amazing to know people care about what we’re doing out here.”

Ship’s Serviceman 2nd Class Erickson Jones, echoed McCall’s sentiments.

“The performance was awesome,” said Jones. “They really hyped me up and I had a lot of fun!”

Clark said the band submitted to Navy Entertainment for a tour to an aircraft carrier for the last five years but due to scheduling conflicts the band couldn’t make it until this year. We the Kings checked onboard with one goal in mind.

150619-N-GR120-116 ARABIAN GULF (June 19, 2015) - Sailors and Marines cheer during a Navy Entertainment sponsored event featuring American rock band "We The Kings" aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). Theodore Roosevelt is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, strike operations in Iraq and Syria as directed, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Anna Van Nuys/Released)

“We have one mission,” Clark exclaimed. “Everyone here has a mission but ours is to play an absolutely incredible show and just to leave everyone with an amazing and excited feeling.”

Clark sat down with Capt. Jeffrey Craig, TR’s executive officer, and Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Justin Ailes for an interview broadcast ship-wide on TR’s Rough Rider Radio.

“It’s been a really wild ride. We’ve been to places we’d never thought we’d go. We’ve performed at NFL games, playoff games and at huge stadiums but this visit aboard TR tops all of that,” said Clark. “We were just talking about how surreal this is to be onboard an aircraft carrier. We’re baffled and unbelievably honored to be here.”  

 Theodore Roosevelt is the flagship of the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group (TRCSG), which is composed of Carrier Strike Group 12, Carrier Air Wing 1, Destroyer Squadron 2 staff, the guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60) and the guided-missile destroyers USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81), USS Farragut (DDG 99) and USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98).
     Roosevelt is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, strike operations in Iraq and Syria as directed, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the region.

 

Join the conversation with TR online at http://www.facebook.com/USSTheodoreRoosevelt and http://www.Twitter.com/TheRealCVN71. For more news from USS Theodore Roosevelt, visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn71/                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Squadron in the Spotlight: VMFA 251

150416-N-SI600-301 U.S. 5TH FLEET AREA OF OPERATIONS (April 16, 2015) – An F/A-18C Hornet, assigned to the Thunderbolts of Marine Strike Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 251, launches from the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) launches an EA-18G Growler, assigned to the Rooks of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 137. Theodore Roosevelt is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, strike operations in Iraq and Syria as directed, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Anthony Hopkins II/Released)

 The Thunderbolts of Marine Strike Fighter Squadron (VMFA) 251, embarked aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), are a prestigious unit that date their formation to the beginnings of World War II.
    

     Initially founded as Marine Observation Squadron (VMO) 251 they were re-designated as a fighter unit by the war’s end. In 2001, the Thunderbolts deployed with Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1 aboard TR and were the first Marine squadron to participate in Operation Enduring Freedom.

     “VMFA 251 has a proud history that began at Naval Air Station North Island in 1941 and has brought them around the world to Beaufort, South Carolina, today,” said Navy Capt. Benjamin Hewlett, commander, CVW 1. “The rich history of the Marine Corps and Marine Corps Aviation is embodied in the Thunderbolts.”

     Lt. Col. Nicholas O. Neimer received the unit flag when he relieved Lt. Col. Joshua A. Riggs as the Thunderbolts commanding officer, May 31, 2015.

     “This is exactly what I expected out of this job,” said Riggs during the change of command ceremony. “I am torn in half leaving the team, but at the same time I know you are in great hands not only with my relief but with the whole staff top to bottom. Our leadership is ready to hit this thing out of the park and see it through to the end.”

     The Thunderbolts powered through the workup cycle and into deployment flying sorties and training alongside the other squadrons embarked aboard TR.

     “I joined the squadron roughly a year ago and I have had the privilege to observe these Marines through their workups and eventually deployment,” said Neimer. 

   
     “I have served with many Marine units in my 18 years and I can say, with authority, that some of the best Marines I have served with are [in VMFA 251] and they will continue to effectively and safely complete the mission as they have for the last year.”

 
     While a lot of work is done in maintenance and preparation, the real excitement of the job comes from launching jets from TR’s flight deck at speeds exceeding 100 MPH.

       “I would explain my job as being a football player about to go through the tunnel onto the field for the Super Bowl every night,” said Lance Cpl. Anthony Hopkins. “On night crew, you go out on the flight deck to relieve day crew, and almost immediately go to work launching and recovering aircraft. Imagine that you are thrown into the most intense aspect of this job ten minutes after coming into work, at night.”

       The Thunderbolts operate the F/A-18C Hornet, an earlier model of the successful airframe.

      “VMFA 251 is a group of highly motivated individuals who have been called to action by their country and we are here to get it on,” said Master Sgt. James Walker. “It has taken a lot of work and sacrifice to get where we are today and even though we fly an older model of airframe, the Hornet, we are no less ready to tackle our mission than our fellow squadrons.”

      A noncommissioned officer, or NCO, is an enlisted person who provides frontline leadership for their fellow Marines.

      “The NCOs of VMFA 251 are the backbone of this unit,” said Riggs. “They are the workhorses that make miracles happen on a daily basis and keep this squadron functioning to accomplish our mission day in and day out. They do it while training our young Marines, and they are the embodiment of our core values of honor, courage, and commitment.”

150531-N-WD161-259 U.S. 5TH FLEET AREA OF OPERATIONS (May 31, 2015) – Marines from the Thunderbolts of Marine Strike Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 251 participate in a change of command ceremony on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). Lieutenant Colonel Joshua A. Riggs was relieved by Lieutenant Colonel Nicholas O. Neimer. Theodore Roosevelt is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, strike operations in Iraq and Syria as directed, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class D’Artanyan Ratley/Released)

 

      The highly-trained Marines of VMFA 251 are top-notch multi-taskers who have wide-ranging skill sets required to execute their mission.

       “The Marines wear a lot of hats. For instance, you can compare us side-by-side to one of the other squadrons aboard and they will have about 50 more people than we do, and we are still considered full strength,” said Hopkins. “That means that our Marines need to be more adaptable and fill the roles that would be filled by more people.”

     Heritage and tradition are as embedded in the Marine Corps as in the Navy, and a sense of pride is an ever-present part of the Marines’ lives.

     “We are a proud branch and our pride is instilled from day one and we never want to lose it,” said Walker. “You could take any individual Marine and at the heart of their reasoning for joining it is that they are proud to serve their country.”

     Theodore Roosevelt is the flagship of the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group (TRCSG), which is composed of Carrier Strike Group 12, Carrier Air Wing 1, Destroyer Squadron 2 staff, the guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60) and the guided-missile destroyers USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81), USS Farragut (DDG 99) and USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98).

     Roosevelt is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, strike operations in Iraq and Syria as directed, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the region.

       Join the conversation with TR online at http://www.facebook.com/USSTheodoreRoosevelt and http://www.Twitter.com/TheRealCVN71.

                                      For more news from USS Theodore Roosevelt, visit  www.navy.mil/local/cvn71/.

TR Departs Dubai

150611-WW127-398  U.S. 5TH FLEET AREA OF OPERATIONS (June 11, 2015) - Sailors from the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) participate in a Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) "Sunset Safari" tour in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Theodore Roosevelt is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, strike operations in Iraq and Syria as directed, maritime security operations and theater security coopeation efforts in the region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Justin L. Ailes/Released)

 

The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) made the third port visit of her 2015 deployment when she pulled in to Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates, June 7-11.

          TR Sailors and Marines enjoyed a few days of relaxation before TR pulled back out to sea for another stretch of underway operations.

          TR’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) offered an assortment of events for Sailors to enjoy including visits to Atlantis water-park, Ferrari World indoor theme park, desert safaris, sand boarding, camel rides, and an Abu Dhabi city tour.

          TR’s Funboss, Megan Villapudua, who previously visited Dubai three times while on        deployment with the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65), was excited to provide crew members with multiple entertainment opportunities while the ship was in port.

          “I think the tours went really well,” said Villapudua. “I think Dubai had more exciting tour options than Bahrain. Sunset safari was the big one. Everyone that I talked to really enjoyed it. I believe that is the ultimate Dubai experience.”

 

150611-WW127-309 U.S. 5TH FLEET AREA OF OPERATIONS (June 11, 2015) - Sailors from the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) participate in a Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) "Sunset Safari" tour in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Theodore Roosevelt is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, strike operations in Iraq and Syria as directed, maritime security operations and theater security coopeation efforts in the region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Justin L. Ailes/Released)

          Electronics Technician 3rd Class Amanda Craig echoed Villapudua’s sentiments.

         “Sunset safari was definitely my favorite part because you really got the whole experience,” said Craig. “They had the ride over the sand dunes, camel rides, dancers, hookah lounges, cultural food; it was really an all-encompassing look into Dubai, and they executed it perfectly.”

          Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Nicole Lowery participated in a variety of tours while in Dubai and highlighted her day at Atlantis water-park as one of the most enjoyable aspects of the port call.

          “Atlantis was a lot of fun,” said Lowery. “We stayed there for like six hours. It was just such a beautiful place. I enjoyed the adrenaline rush from the rides and it was also cool to see all the different kinds of people there.”

          Sonar Technician (surface) 3rd Class Jason Hatke, another MWR tour-goer, credited the tours with exposing him to people from around the world.

          “I was able to teach a little Australian girl how to sand-board,” said Hatke. “That is one of those things I will remember for the rest of my life.”

150611-WW127-353 U.S. 5TH FLEET AREA OF OPERATIONS (June 11, 2015) - Sailors from the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) participate in a Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) "Sunset Safari" tour in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Theodore Roosevelt is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, strike operations in Iraq and Syria as directed, maritime security operations and theater security coopeation efforts in the region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Justin L. Ailes/Released)

          “The best part was spending time with all our friends,” said Santiago. “Relaxing, eating, and enjoying life … we were enjoying a little time off before getting back to reality.”

        Theodore Roosevelt is the flagship of the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group (TRCSG), which is composed of Carrier Strike Group 12, Carrier Air Wing 1, Destroyer Squadron 2 staff, the guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60) and the guided-missile destroyers USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81), USS Farragut (DDG 99) and USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98).

     Roosevelt is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, strike operations in Iraq and Syria as directed, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the region.

 

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kris R. Lindstrom, USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Public Affairs

Join the conversation with TR online at http://www.facebook.com/USSTheodoreRoosevelt and http://www.Twitter.com/TheRealCVN71. For more news from USS Theodore Roosevelt, visit  www.navy.mil/local/cvn71/.

Striking Success

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“Choose your rate, choose your fate,” a common saying on the deck plates of any vessel in today’s Navy. While Sailors choose their rate upon enlistment, there is a portion who enter the fleet undesignated. They stand watch, heave line, maintain equipment and complete the tough tasks of cleaning and painting to keep the ship looking her finest. After the work concludes, undesignated Sailors can search for a permanent job to “strike” into. These Sailors take their fate into their own hands as they strike their rate.    

     Aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), strikers search for the rate they’re best qualified for by seeking mentorship and counseling from leaders that have been in their boots before. Two TR Sailors have gone above and beyond the expectations that were made for them as undesignated seamen, redefining the possibilities and avenues to success.    

     Senior Chief Personnel Specialist Troy Millare started his ascension through the ranks in 1992 as an undesignated seaman aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Guam (LPH 9).

     “I wanted a job and I thought that being an undesignated seaman was cool at the time,” said Millare. “It was a good job. I enjoyed doing outside physical labor and I really didn’t mind it at the time. It also gave me the opportunity to look at all the other jobs on the ship and try to strike for one that I was really interested in.”

     Undesignated seamen are part of the Professional Apprenticeship Career Track Program (PACT). Following basic training and a four-week apprenticeship school, PACT seamen check onboard to receive guidance from their chain of command and command career counselor on which rate best suits them.

     Millare spent two and a half years as an undesignated seaman before striking disbursing clerk (DK).

     “I learned a lot of things as an undesignated seaman,” said Millare. “Driving the ship, taking care of small boats and stuff like that. Once I got into a rating I enjoyed, I got to wear my first clean uniform and I got off the Deck [Department] watch bill. I got the opportunity to work in customer service as a DK. I thought it was a good move.”

     Lt. Nancy Helfrich has a similar story from when she entered the Navy as an undesignated seaman in 1996.

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     “It was hard. I was on a destroyer and there were only a handful of us,” said Helfrich. “I was chipping paint, driving the ship, standing lookout, but I liked being part of something so much bigger than myself. I never said that I was just going to do my time and get out.”

     Helfrich, assigned to the destroyer USS Briscoe (DD 977), was fixated on her goal to strike into the Navy’s medical field.

     “Everybody wanted me to strike their rate,” Helfrich said through her laughter. “I had my heart set on being a corpsman and being in the medical field so I just stuck to my guns. Corpsman is a rate that you have to go to A-school. A year and half later, I was on my way to A-school.”

     Fast forward to the present; Millare serves as Administrative Department leading chief petty officer and Helfrich is the ship’s nurse after rising through the ranks and earning her commissioning in 2008.      

     “It was a long way,” said Millare. “I have been in the Navy for 22 years now. I never thought I would be sitting here running the Admin Department. Choosing this rating led me to an opportunity to work for various types of commands and platforms. That’s one thing I really enjoy about my rating; that I can travel and be stationed at all types of different commands. I have had a very diverse career.”

     “I feel accomplished,” said Helfrich. “I had to work hard to become a corpsman, nothing was given to me. We all do not have the same experiences and opportunities in life so I feel like the Navy opened so many doors for me. I love the Navy. It has so much to offer and people need to take advantage and make the most of their career.”

   From painting bulkheads as an undesignated seaman to giving vaccines and drawing blood as a hospital corpsman (HM), Helfrich remembers both stages of her journey.

     “Both [boatswain’s mates] BMs and HMs have a special place in my heart,” said Helfrich. “I will never forget where I came from.”

     For more information on the striking process, contact your career counselor.     Theodore Roosevelt is the flagship of the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group (TRCSG), which is composed of Carrier Strike Group 12, Carrier Air Wing 1, Destroyer Squadron 2 staff, the guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60) and the guided-missile destroyers USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81), USS Farragut (DDG 99) and USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98).

     Roosevelt is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, strike operations in Iraq and Syria as directed, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the region.

 

Join the conversation with TR online at http://www.facebook.com/USSTheodoreRoosevelt and http://www.Twitter.com/TheRealCVN71. For more news from USS Theodore Roosevelt, visit  www.navy.mil/local/cvn71/.

 

TR Idol Narrows Down Top 12 Finalists

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Twenty-five Sailors and Marines aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) competed in the first round of the ship’s singing competition, TR Idol, May 31.

     Hundreds of crew members packed the mess decks to watch the performance and show their support for the contestants.

     The audience roared as each contestant displayed their vocal prowess by singing their favorite songs. Intelligence Specialist 3rd Class Richard Ayala received a standing ovation after singing his rendition of Aerosmith classic, “Dream On.”

     “It was appreciated and super humbling,” said Ayala. “A lot of people in my division were here to support me, and they were the ones that told me to enter into the competition, so I was glad to see them all here tonight.”

     TR’s First Class Petty Officer Association (FCPOA) coordinated the event and invited the crew for closed auditions, May 24. More than 60 Sailors and Marines put their talents to the test before the top contestants moved on to perform front and center on TR’s mess decks.

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     “For the first round we had three judges and whoever got the highest scores were chosen as the top 25,” said Logistics Specialist 1st Class Rachel Fuller-Ryan, an FCPOA entertainment committee member and one of TR Idol’s coordinators. “We decided that having the top 25 perform for the crew would be good experience for the contestants and it’d be good for crew morale and involvement.”    

     Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Michael Phillips saw the competition as an opportunity to make a personal dedication.

     “Every song that I sing, if I move forward in the competition that is, will be dedicated to my girlfriend,” said Phillips. “I opened up with ‘You and I,’ by John Legend at auditions and tonight I sang ‘Just Friends’ by Musiq Soulchild. It sort of tells the story of how we met and I can relate to it so I’ll be able to sing it from the heart.”

     Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Trevon Bishop went to the show to support his old friend.

    “We were both [assistant recruit chief petty officers] in boot camp,” said Bishop. “We both led cadences in boot so it’s cool to see [Phillips] come out and show his talent. Plus it’s cool to see all the other talent here.”

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     Air Traffic Controlman 3rd Class Ruby Wesby sings for TR’s Contemporary Service Choir and saw the competition as a chance to gain more stage presence and confidence.

     “I was really nervous before getting out there,” said Wesby. “I know I can do it, but when the spotlight gets on me I don’t want to freeze up. I tried to get the crowd involvement to shake my nerves. For me that’s what this event is about; morale and to get the command involved in a good cause and something to lift people’s spirits.”

     Five judges narrowed down the contestants and announced the top 12 semifinalists who will move on to the next round. The competition will continue throughout the month as TR searches for her first “Idol.”

TR Idol’s Top 12 Semifinalists:

  1. CSC Villamor, Nino
  2. ABE1 Turner, Lavon
  3. AE2 Ashcroft, Mary
  4. IS3 Ayala, Richard
  5. ET3 Castle, Brandi
  6. IT3 Gains, Kelly
  7. HM3 Layugan, Grace
  8. AC3 Wesby, Ruby
  9. CS3 Webb, Jake
  10. ABFAN Wilson, Savanna
  11. AOAN Phillips, Michael
  12. CSSA Harris, Edward

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Danica M. Sirmans, USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Public Affairs