By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Taylor L. Jackson, USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Public Affairs
ARABIAN GULF (NNS) -- Vice Adm. John Miller, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, visited the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), Aug. 11, and spoke with the crew during an all-hands call in the ship's hangar bay.
Miller told the Sailors he expects Theodore Roosevelt to depart the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations on schedule, addressing what he said he assumed to be the most prominent question among the crew.
Miller then discussed the importance of the work Theodore Roosevelt and her Sailors are doing in U.S. 5th Fleet and also took questions from the crew.
"My two biggest concerns continue to be Iraq and Syria and the Daesh [ISIL] forces that continue to occupy portions of Iraq and Syria," said Miller. "What we're doing from the deck of TR is providing coalition air support in order to help the Iraqi people and the Iraqi security forces kick these folks out of Iraq. It's a long fight, one that began in June of last year, and it's a slow fight, but we're providing the air support and it's a fight that I predict will be a successful one."
U.S. 5th Fleet Master Chief Scott Fleming also gave his thanks to the crew for their efforts in supporting operations.
"Adm. Miller and certainly the entire staff at 5th Fleet believes it is critically important to come out here and look you all in the eye and say 'thank you' for what you do," said Fleming. "You are integral to anything we do in this area of operations. We assume and trust you're going to go out there and do exactly what we need you to do, and everybody delivers exactly as advertised."
Miller then opened the floor for questions from the crew, addressing the topics of shorter deployments and a "carrier gap" in U.S. 5th Fleet.
Citing the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert's initiative for limiting the scheduled length of deployments to seven months, Miller stressed the Navy's flexibility to support operations when an aircraft carrier cannot be present in 5th Fleet.
"The CNO is committed to seven-month deployments," said Miller. "Long deployments are not sustainable over time. We are the most innovative fighting force in the world, and we'll figure out a way to fill in that gap with other capabilities."
Miller said it was "a real privilege" for him to be on the ship and gave his thanks once again for the hard work of TR and all of the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group (TRCSG).
"You're making a difference to the Iraqi people and the stability of this region, and you should all be proud of not only what you're doing, but the very professional way in which you're doing it," he said.
Theodore Roosevelt is the flagship of the TRCSG, which is composed of Carrier Strike Group 12, Carrier Air Wing 1, Destroyer Squadron 2 staff, the guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60) and the guided-missile destroyers USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81), USS Farragut (DDG 99) and USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98).
Theodore Roosevelt is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, strike operations in Iraq and Syria as directed, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the region.