USS Theodore Roosevelt Searches for Man Overboard

theodore roosevelt
USN file image

Published Dec 11, 2020 6:08 PM by The Maritime Executive

The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt is conducting search and rescue efforts after a man-overboard situation off the coast of Southern California, the U.S. Navy reported Friday morning. 

The ship launched a search and rescue operation after a lookout spotted what appeared to be a person in the water at 0730 hours Thursday. Three SAR helicopters and a RIB were launched in response. During an all-hands muster on board, one crewmember was unaccounted for, confirming the prospect of a man-overboard casualty.

The U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy aircraft, cruiser USS Bunker Hill, destroyers USS Russell and USS Howard, and the littoral combat ship USS Charleston are participating in the search and rescue efforts.

The family of the missing sailor has identied him as Aviation Ordnanceman Ethan Goolsby, 20, who graduated from basic training in January, according to Navy Times. USS Theodore Roosevelt was his first command. 

The cause of the incident is still under investigation. 

At the time of the casualty, USS Theodore Roosevelt and her strike group were under way on a training exercise, part of the preparations for Roosevelt's second deployment of 2020. The rare "double-pump" back-to-back deployment comes after a challenging tour in the Western Pacific in the first half of the year: after a port call in Vietnam, an outbreak of COVID-19 swept through the ship, eventually infecting one quarter of the carrier's crew. A 10-week period of quarantine and disinfection followed at the Navy's base at Guam, and after the all clear, Theodore Roosevelt returned to San Diego for the sustainment phase of her operating cycle. Despite a second, smaller COVID outbreak affecting her personnel, that phase has been cut short and she will soon deploy once more. 

The man-overboard is the second serious personnel incident affecting the carrier in three months. In mid-October, a member of her crew sustained a self-inflicted gunshot wound while standing a security watch at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego, according to the Navy. He was taken to UCSD Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. An investigation into the circumstances of the fatality is under way.