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The aircraft carrier continues to be the centerpiece of the forces necessary for forward presence. Whenever there has been a crisis, the first question has been: "Where are the carriers?" Carriers support and operate aircraft that engage in attacks on airborne, afloat, and ashore targets that threaten free use of the sea; and engage in sustained operations in support of other forces.

Aircraft carriers are deployed worldwide in support of U.S. interests and commitments. They can respond to global crises in ways ranging from peacetime presence to full-scale war. Together with their on-board air wings, the carriers have vital roles across the full spectrum of conflict. The Nimitz-class carriers are the largest warships in the world.     

USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Construction:

  • Contract awarded Sept. 30, 1980.
  • Seven-year construction timeframe.
  • Keel laid Oct. 31, 1981.
  • Launched Aug. 27, 1984.
  • Christened Oct 31, 1984.
  • Commissioned Oct. 25, 1986.
  • 47,000 tons of structural steel and about a million pounds of aluminum.
  • Modular construction process forms large individual units of the ship much like interlocking building blocks.
  • Units welded together to form a module or superlift weighing up to 900 tons.


  • Towers 20 stories above the waterline with a 4.5-acre flight deck.
  • 1,092 feet long: nearly as long as the Empire State Building is tall.
  • Four bronze propellers, each 21 feet across and weighing more than 30 tons.
  • Steering accomplished by two rudders, each 29 feet by 22 feet and weighing 50 tons.
  • Four high speed aircraft elevators, each more than 4,000 square feet, bring planes to the flight deck from the hangar below.

General Characteristics, Nimitz Class:

  • Builder: Newport News Shipbuilding Co., Newport News, VA.
  • Date Deployed: May 3, 1975 (USS Nimitz).
  • Unit Cost: About $4.5 billion each.
  • Length: 1,092 feet (332.85 meters).
  • Beam: 134 feet (40.84 meters); Flight Deck Width: 252 feet (76.8 meters).
  • Displacement: Approximately 97,000 tons (87,996.9 metric tons) full load.
  • Speed: 30+ knots (34.5+ miles per hour).
  • Crew: Ship's Company: 3,200 - Air Wing: 2,480.
  • Armament: Two or three (depending on modification) NATO Sea Sparrow launchers, 20mm Phalanx CIWS mounts: (3 on NIMITZ and DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER and 4 on VINSON and later ships of the class).

Capability and Capacity:

  • Top speed exceeds 30 knots.
  • Expected to operate as Navy warship for about 50 years.
  • Typical Nimitz-class ship carries 80-plus combat aircraft.
  • Three two-inch diameter arresting wires on the deck bring an airplane going 150 miles per hour to a stop in less than 400 feet.
  • Home to about 6,000 Navy personnel.
  • Enough food and supplies to operate for 90 days: 18,150 meals served daily.
  • Distillation plants providing 400,000 gallons of fresh water from sea water daily, enough for 2,000 homes.
  • Nearly 30,000 light fixtures and 1,600 miles of cable and wiring.
  • 1,400 telephones, 14,000 pillowcases and 28,000 sheets.

The Carrier Mission is:

  • To provide a credible, sustainable, independent forward presence and conventional deterrence in peacetime.
  • To operate as the cornerstone of joint/allied maritime expeditionary forces in times of crisis.
  • To operate and support aircraft attacks on enemies, protect friendly forces and engage in sustained independent operations in war.

Guiding Principles:

  • Like our namesake, we are professionals who serve our country with integrity.
  • We maintain our warfighting skills and fight as a team.
  • We improve the material condition of our ship.
  • We ensure THEODORE ROOSEVELT Sailors are set up for success.
  • We understand the importance of family readiness.