SA Historic Visit To The USS Theodore Roosevelt (USS TR)
Aircraft Carrier: 3 October 2008.
By Amn Tebogo E. Kekana, AD ASTRA Magazine
South Africa took part at a historic event when Brig Gen
Pierre du Plessis, Director Combat Systems and Brig Gen
Tersia Jacobs, Director Corporate Staff Services had the
privilege of representing the SA Air Force during a tour on
the USS Theodore Roosevelt, also generally known as the ‘Big
The two Directors were part of a big remarkable elite
because an occurrence of this nature takes place after every
40 years. The South African delegation included Members of
Parliament, the Department of Defence (CSANDF and Sec Def
personnel), the SA Police Services and different media
It nearly went sour though because the original intent was
that they meet at Signature Aviation situated at Cape Town
International Airport and fly with two COD aircraft to the
ship that was still on its way to Cape Town at that stage.
However, due to 14 feet swells at sea and safety reasons,
the flights were called off between 11:00 – 12:00. Members
of the delegation withdrew and D Combat S and DCSS board the
King Air in order to sadly return to Pretoria.
The aircraft engines were already running when a USA
military member indicated to the D Combat S and DCSS that,
although fixed wing operations were cancelled for the day,
rotary wing operations could proceed and therefore two USA
maritime helicopters were tasked to come and fetch the
That came down as a sigh of relief and good news and then
the delegation toured the ship for two hours. They proudly
watched two Oryx helicopters from the SA Air Force (22 Sqn)
practicing deck landings on the ship. The delegation toured
through the aircraft hangar and was briefed on interesting
facts like supply chain management, Command and Control
operations, catering services and how the ship is anchored.
Interesting facts on the USS Theodore Roosevelt include:
Commanding of the ship is Capt (N) C.L. Wheeler.
Group Commander on the ship is R Adm (JG).
There is a
tourist office on the ship where people can book / pay
for tourist activities in advance.
are taken in every 10 days.
ordered in advance and 60 large containers are shipped
to the harbor where it will be lifted.
Support Officers are Lt Col and 14 Supply Support
Officers report to them.
Personnel on the ship is ± 550, whilst the rest of the ±
5000 personnel are in core musterings.
The ship has a
capability to make fresh water from seawater and has the
capacity to maintain 400 000 liters of fresh water on a
continuous basis. It is important to remember that the
ships aircraft must be washed more often to combat
The USS TR is currently only carrying 57 aircraft on
A sub-marine, 4 x frigates and a support ship are
accompanying the USS TR.
The support ship is responsible to dispose of all
rubbish on a regular base, in line with international
knots (34,5+ miles per hour). i.e. approximately 64
deck: 1,092 feet. i.e. (333m).
to mast top): 244 feet (equal to a 24 story building).
About 750 feet (compared to 10,000 feet at an airport).
wires capability: Can stop a 50,000 lb aircraft.
Number of anchors – Two.
Weight – 30
anchor links – 350 pounds each.
Number of propellers – Four.
Height – 21
compartments: More than 3,200.
The SA delegation
ready to walk to the helicopter for their return flight.
The ship should qualify as one of the wonders of the world.
This emphasis the words of Rene Descartes’ saying that it is
not enough to have a good mind, the main thing is to use it
Note: See a
scanned copy of USS Theodore Roosevelt magazine.