The slam of a catapult slinging a naval aircraft
from the flight deck into the air was heard for the 100,000th time
aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) April 30. TR celebrated a
milestone with the 100,000th successful catapult since its
commissioning in 1986. An EA-6B Prowler from Electronic Attack
Squadron (VAQ) 141 was the 100,000th aircraft to catapult from
There are four “cats” (catapults) on the flight deck
of an aircraft carrier, two on the bow and two on the waist.
“We like to keep track of numbers and time with milestones
such as these. At 100 launches I got a patch, at 1,000 someone
might get a plaque. We saved the piece of hold back bar to mount on
a plaque,” said TR Air Boss Capt. (select) Vince
The hold back bar prevents the plane from starting down the
catapult until a certain amount of steam pressure is released. The
topside safety petty officer was Aviation Boatswain’s Mate
2nd Class Calvin Griffin, and the launch officer, or
“shooter,” was Lt. William Ellis. "The bow
‘cat’ work center Sailors worked very hard maintaining
the equipment to support the air wing,” said Drouillard.
Successful flight operations depend on all involved departments
“The accomplishment shows the great teamwork this ship has
between different departments,” said Capt. (select) Mark
Hunter, TR operations officer. The air wing provides the aircraft,
and the pilots do their procedures. The Strike Operations Division
of the Operations Department writes the daily air plan.
Carrier Air Traffic Control Center plays a key role. None of it
can exist without the supply department getting fuel aboard for the
planes during an underway replenishment, he said.
“If we don’t keep enough fuel in our tanks, the
fighters can’t fly. Deck Department provides most of the
maintenance necessary and Navigation and the Bridge help ensure the
safest landing for aircraft. All the departments efforts speak
highly of how well we work together,” said Hunter.
“It all comes together in the end,” said Drouillard.
One hundred thousand launches marks a significant milestone in the
life of TR, and 6,243 of those incident free launches occurred this
deployment, including support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. [ANN
Thanks Journalist 2nd Class Jessica Benigni, USS Theodore Roosevelt