Norfolk, Va. – The Norfolk-based aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt marked a milestone on Thursday with the ship’s 200,000th arrested aircraft landing, or ‘trap’.
Capt. Daniel C. Grieco, the Roosevelt’s commanding officer, and Capt. Benjamin Hewlett, deputy commander of Carrier Air Wing 1, successfully made the landing.
“It was an amazing opportunity to highlight an accomplishment of the USS Theodore Roosevelt and making history during her 28th year in the fleet,” said Grieco. Logging the 200,000th trap was the result of decades of dedication and professionalism from the team aboard TR, ranging from aviators to the Sailors operating the ships arresting gears.
“It is amazing to be a part of the 200,000th trap because with the job that we do, it takes a lot of effort for five traps,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (equipment) 2nd Class Chad Gaston, arresting gear assistant leading petty officer, from Cordele, Ga. “So, 200,000 is a lot for one ship, and I can’t even imagine how many Sailors and man hours it took to reach this milestone.”
It’s not just the pilot landing the aircraft. Several different Sailors play a part in coordinating the landing of an aircraft aboard an aircraft carrier.
“It’s our job in Primary Flight Control (Pri-Fly) to make sure the deck is clear of all people and FOD [foreign object debris] so aircraft can land safely,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (handling) Airman Gabriel Uriva, a native of San Diego and an aft-spotter in Pri-Fly. “It feels great to see how the TR team came together to get this done.”
The Sailors who operate TR’s arresting gears plan on celebrating the momentous event with a cake cutting ceremony, and handing out pieces of the arresting wire as souvenirs.
“We stripped the arresting wire that was used in the 200,000th landing and we are going to cut it up and give it back to the troops to show them our appreciation,” said Gaston.
“This is a benchmark for the ship,” said Grieco. “People see our aircraft carrier and see an amazing piece of equipment that can support our nation but don’t realize that she is only halfway through her lifespan and has landed an incredible 200,000 airplanes. So in the years to come, with TR moving forward, she will likely land upwards of 400,000 airplanes before she is decommissioned.”