By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Andrea Rumple
Over the last year and a half while the world has been struggling to cope with COVID-19, the U.S. Navy has remained operational and at-sea, eschewing liberty port calls in order to ensure the health and safety of Sailors to perform national security operations. Such a feat can only be accomplished by resilient, highly skilled, and qualified crews.
COVID-19 sequester requirements and mitigations have demanded much of the Sailors at sea and impacted families ashore, yet they continue to answer the nation’s call to service. This is especially true for Sailors aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Roosevelt (DDG 80).
Since the pandemic’s commencement in March 2020, 33 Roosevelt Sailors have re-enlisted with the encouragement of shipmates and mentors and a passion for service. Though the Fleet retention rate for Sailors with zero to six years of service during this period was 57%, Roosevelt experienced a 74% retention rate, exceeding Retention Excellence Award (REA) benchmarks. Reenlistments onboard Roosevelt post-pandemic have been consistently greater than before the pandemic.
Electronics Technician 2nd Class Andrew Lockridge is one of the motivated Sailors who decided to reenlist.
“I love my job onboard and have had some great mentors at this command,” said Lockridge, who will serve his next shore billet in Sigonella, Italy. “I look forward to learning about the aspects of my rate on shore and continuing to work in U.S. Sixth Fleet where the missions are professionally and tactically engaging.”
Command Master Chief James Kuroski offered his thoughts on the recent wave of reenlistments by the crew of USS Roosevelt.
“This is a special crew from E1 to O5,” said Kuroski. “Everyone has a positive influence over one another.”
Kuroski said that he gains inspiration from the crew and their resiliency during this challenging time. Despite all the sacrifices and hardships throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Roosevelt Sailors continue to show their drive and dedication to completing the mission.
Due to COVID-19 health protection measures, ships at sea only recently began to have liberty in some ports for fully-immunized Sailors. Prior to a COVID-19 vaccine, sailors were not given traditional shore liberty in overseas ports. Roosevelt recently enjoyed several days of liberty in Kiel, Germany and Reykjavik, Iceland while on patrol in support of U.S. Sixth Fleet. .
Roosevelt is currently operating in the High North, following participation in Exercise At Sea Demo/Formidable Shield 21 and Exercise Baltic Operations. Since Roosevelt’s arrival in U.S. Sixth Fleet, the ship has been underway and working alongside more than 25 allied and partner nations in the Black Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, the Atlantic Ocean, and above the Arctic Circle.
U.S. Sixth Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests, security and stability in Europe and Africa.