The Office of Personnel Management will adopt 5,500 Navy personnel on board the USS Theodore Roosevelt
, agency officials announced Tuesday. OPM Director Kay Coles James hatched the idea to adopt the ship and its crew as a way to support U.S. troops engaged in Operation Enduring Freedom, according to an OPM spokesman. James chose the Theodore Roosevelt
because OPM's Washington headquarters are located in the Theodore Roosevelt federal building. "Kay James … thought it was very appropriate at this time to do whatever we can to help with the morale and spirits of the crew and family members," said OPM spokesman Michael Orenstein. Under the adoption program, OPM employees will send care packages and letters to personnel on the ship and to families of crewmembers in Norfolk, Va., where the ship is based. OPM also plans to send a 12-foot banner with greetings from agency employees to the ship. The agency will continue to send morale-boosting gifts to the ship for at least the next several months, Orenstein said. OPM will hold a ceremony on Friday to formally announce adoption of the Theodore Roosevelt
. As OPM employees prepare to adopt the ship, they can take cues from the Theodore Roosevelt Association
in Oyster Bay, N.Y., which has been sending gifts to the ship since it was commissioned in 1986. The association, which is chartered by Congress to preserve the memory of the 26th President, is excited that OPM will help boost the morale of the ship's crew, said assistant director Linda Milano. "Sure, the more letters crewmembers get the better," she said. The Roosevelt Association has sent a variety of gifts to the ship over the years, including stained-glass windows, musical instruments and a moose head. The Theodore Roosevelt
shipped out to the Indian Ocean on Sept. 19 to participate in Operation Enduring Freedom.
To send an e-mail message to crew members on the ship, click here. To read letters from the ship's public affairs officer, click here.