Look at the size of it -- America’s USS Theodore Roosevelt, a Nimitz class aircraft carrier known as the "Big Stick," which dropped anchor off Britain’s south coast on Sunday. The 100,000-tonne behemoth, which is too large for any of the Royal Navy’s bases, will sit in the littorals for five days as part of its global deployment. This is good news for the nearby towns, which are expecting an economic boom from the 5,226 crew who will be travelling ashore in search of recreation.
Commander Paul Bowditch, the ship's navigator, said: "We are really excited to be here in Portsmouth. Personally I can't wait to have some of your fish and chips and a lot of folks want to see Victory and a lot of folk are going up to London to see the sites and the history. One way or another all of us have our ties back to here and for all of us it's exciting to come back and see the sheer history. We have a couple of hundred years of history in the US and just coming in here we saw sea forts which were built in the 1700s and are still standing and that's one of the greatest things."
The carrier has been part of an ongoing partnership between the Royal Navy and US on carrier operations until the first of the new carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth, enters service in 2017. Among Roosevelt's crew are six Royal Navy aircraft handlers who are honing their skills ahead of serving aboard the first of the new carriers.
The Royal Navy's First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir George Zambellas, said: "It is excellent to see US Navy carrier steel in Portsmouth. And in barely two years we will see UK carrier steel here too. We warmly welcome the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group - a reflection of the close partnership between our nations and navies, and the value of credible sea power in support of our shared national interests."