SAN DIEGO, CA — The Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group completed a sustainment exercise and deployed Wednesday for the first time since returning to San Diego in July. The more than 5,500 sailors assigned to the strike group completed a pre-deployment sequester, reducing the risk of COVID-19 infection among the crew while establishing a COVID- free strike group bubble.
The sustainment exercise, known as SUSTEX in military jargon, is an integrated exercise between different aspects of the strike group to test its ability to compete and win "in a high-end fight."
"Our sailors worked incredibly hard to make sure we set sail with a healthy, capable, and ready crew," said Capt. Eric Anduze, U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt's commanding officer. "We are at the highest state of readiness to support America's interests around the world at a moment's notice."
The strike group consists of Carrier Strike Group 9, USS Theodore Roosevelt, Carrier Air Wing 11, the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill, Destroyer Squadron 23, and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Russell and USS John Finn.
"Completing SUSTEX confirmed that Carrier Strike Group Nine is ready to sail west to preserve freedom of the seas, deter aggression, and if necessary, win against any competitor," said Rear Adm. Doug Verissimo, commander of Carrier Strike Group Nine.
"The entire strike group team came together during a challenging time to train and ultimately prove that it is ready to answer any call. From the long-range strike to information warfare to air defense to surface and subsurface warfare, the strike group proved it is a combat-credible force capable of controlling the seas in conflict, preserving maritime security, and extending American influence during peacetime," Verissimo said.
The strike group returned from a six-month deployment "supporting maritime security cooperation efforts and regional stability" in the Eastern Pacific and Indian oceans in July 2020.
City News Service, Patch Editor Ashley Ludwig contributed to this report.