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Roosevelt aircraft carrier sailor believed overboard – search underway

The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Chris Brown/Released)
December 11, 2020

A U.S. Navy sailor assigned to the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) is missing after possibly going overboard off the coast of California on Thursday.

In a statement provided to American Military News, U.S. Third Fleet spokesman Cmdr. Sean Robertson said the U.S. aircraft carrier “is conducting search and rescue efforts in support of a possible Sailor overboard off the coast of Southern California, Dec. 10. The ship initiated search and rescue procedures after a lookout spotted what appeared to be a person in the water.”

Robertson said a command-wide muster was called after the lookout saw the possible person in the water and one sailor was unaccounted for after the muster.

Three search and rescue helicopters and a Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB) were initially launched as part of the search and rescue effort and the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy aircraft, USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), USS Russell (DDG 59), and USS Howard (DDG 83), and USS Charleston (LCS 18) are now participating in the search effort.

Another Navy sailor assigned the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz went overboard in the Arabian Sea in September. A search and rescue effort was launched for the sailor, Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Ian McKnight, but the search was called off two days later and McKnight was not found.

The USS Theodore Roosevelt was sidelined in the spring of this year after a coronavirus outbreak aboard the ship. The aircraft carrier had been deployed in the Pacific but was forced to seek port in Guam after the outbreak began. The Stars & Stripes reported 1,156 sailors tested positive for coronavirus during the outbreak. One sailor aboard the aircraft carrier died of coronavirus-related illness following the outbreak.

The USS Theodore Roosevelt returned to sea on May 21 and returned from its deployment in July.

In October, another sailor assigned to the USS Theodore Roosevelt died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound while on duty. The sailor’s death came on the same day the aircraft carrier was due to be underway for “routine training at sea.”

Sources within the aircraft carrier’s community told Navy Times that the ship’s crew was told in September to expect to deploy again anywhere from November to January, putting them back at sea just months after the completion of their last deployment.

The Navy had not confirmed any details about potential future deployments to Navy Times at the time, but officials said the ship is in a phase where it must be ready to deploy on “short notice.”

Navy officials said “deployment resiliency” resources and other assistance are available to the carrier’s crew and family members.