SAN DIEGO – An Arlington, Washington, native and 1990 Arlington High School graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt.
Capt. Pete Riebe is the executive officer aboard the carrier operating out of San Diego. As a Navy executive officer, Riebe has the responsibilities of a chief operating officer for a 3,000 person organization.
Riebe credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned growing up in Arlington.
“I learned that hard work and a positive attitude can ensure success,” said Riebe.
Named in honor of former President Theodore Roosevelt, the carrier is longer than three football fields, measuring nearly 1,100 feet. The ship, a true floating city, weighs more than 100,000 tons and has a flight deck that is 252 feet wide.
Powerful catapults slingshot the aircraft off the bow of the ship. The planes land aboard the carrier by snagging a steel cable with an arresting hook that protrudes from the rear of the aircraft.
A key element of the Navy the nation needs is tied to the fact that America is a maritime nation, according to Navy officials, and that the nation’s prosperity is tied to the ability to operate freely on the world’s oceans. More than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water; 80 percent of the world’s population lives close to a coast; and 90 percent of all global trade by volume travels by sea.
Being stationed in San Diego, the principal homeport of the Pacific Fleet, means Riebe is playing an important part in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.
“Our priorities center on people, capabilities and processes, and will be achieved by our focus on speed, value, results and partnerships,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.”
The Pacific is home to more than 50 percent of the world's population, many of the world's largest and smallest economies, several of the world's largest militaries, and many U.S. allies. The Navy has been pivotal in helping maintain peace and stability in the Pacific region for decades.
Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community and career, Riebe is just proud of earning the opportunity to be the executive officer of an aircraft carrier for the Navy.
“I have a great deal of responsibility here and I’ve enjoyed the challenges that come with leading this organization,” said Riebe.
Serving in the Navy is a continuing tradition of military service for Riebe, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. Riebe is honored to carry on the family tradition.
“My dad did one tour as an enlisted man in the Air Force. He influenced me to join. I did a few years enlisted in the Navy before I went to the Naval Academy,” said Riebe. “I believe he is proud of my progress.”
Sailors’ jobs are highly varied aboard the carrier. Approximately 3,200 men and women make up the ship's crew, which keeps all parts of the aircraft carrier running smoothly — this includes everything from washing dishes and preparing meals to handling weaponry and maintaining the nuclear reactors. Another 2,500 men and women form the air wing are responsible for flying and maintaining the aircraft aboard the ship.
"Naval aviation is the ultimate team sport, and a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier cannot accomplish her mission without the professionalism and expertise of every sailor aboard," said Capt. Carlos Sardiello, commanding officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt. "The crew of Theodore Roosevelt has proven themselves time and time again, and their level of professionalism and dedication is second to none."
Theodore Roosevelt, like each of the Navy’s aircraft carriers, is designed for a 50-year service life. When the air wing is embarked, the ship carries more than 70 attack jets, helicopters and other aircraft, all of which take off from and land aboard the carrier at sea.
All of this makes the Theodore Roosevelt a self-contained mobile airport and strike platform, and often the first response to a global crisis because of a carrier’s ability to operate freely in international waters anywhere on the world’s oceans.
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Riebe and other Theodore Roosevelt sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.
"I am proud to be a part of our national defense organization, and I have enjoyed the privilege of flying. I have enjoyed meeting so many wonderful, hardworking people,” added Riebe. “I have always said that when this stops being fun I will know that my time is done. It hasn’t stopped being fun yet.”