• Coronavirus strikes the USS Teddy Roosevelt, a nuclear-powered carrier
  • Capt. Brett Crozier, begs Navy for help in containing onboard outbreak
  • Over 100 US Navy Sailors onboard Teddy Roosevelt infected by COVID-19

The San Francisco Chronicle has reported that Navy Captain Brett Crozier has sent a four-page letter to Navy officials Monday requesting for quarantine rooms onshore for the carrier’s crew. The USS Theodore Roosevelt is presently docked off Guam’s coast. The aircraft carrier is manned by 4,000 Navy officers and personnel. Reports say that over 100 sailors onboard the carrier has tested positive for COVID-19.

coronavirus strikes the USS Theodore Roosevelt nuclear aircraft carrier
coronavirus strikes the USS Theodore Roosevelt nuclear aircraft carrier skeeze - Pixabay

A Political Solution Needed

The letter that Capt. Crozier wrote said that their current predicament requires a political solution and that it is the right thing to do at the moment. He also wrote that they are not at war today, and sailors need not die. Crozier also wrote, “If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset — our Sailors.”

The captain said only a small group of his crew was taken off-board as COVID-19 confirmed cases started to pop up. Those who remain on board live in tight quarters. Attempts at social distancing and stepping up of cleaning schedules failed to slow down the spread of the virus, Crozier wrote. The captain also said that because of the inherent limitations of space of the warship, they are not able to observe the social distancing guidelines properly.

Ongoing And Accelerating

The USS Theodore Roosevelt captain said in his letter that COVID-19 spread in his ship is ongoing and accelerating. He put forward a proposal for 10% of the crew to remain on board the aircraft carrier to take care of its nuclear power plant. The limited personnel could also maintain operations of the ship and mount a response in case of an emergency.

Three sailors on board the Teddy Roosevelt had tested positive for COVID-19. This was confirmed by Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly last week. The detection of the infection is the first confirmed case of at-sea Navy personnel. A senior crew member aboard the carrier, in an interview with the Chronicle, revealed that since then, the number of infected personnel had increased to 150 sailors.

Taking Necessary Measures

A Navy official, in a statement, said that the Pacific fleet leadership has already received the letter from Capt. Crozier. The official revealed that the Navy Brass is quickly moving and taking all necessary measures to ensure the safety and health of the USS Theodore Roosevelt crew. The Navy official also stated that they are in the process of checking out options to resolve the concerns that have been raised by the carrier’s commanding officer.

Lawrence Korb, a former assistant secretary of defense during the Reagan administration and also a retired Navy captain, said that Crozier’s letter is very unusual. In an interview with the Chronicle, Korb said it is rare for the ship’s captain to write a letter like that as they are on track to becoming an admiral. The retired captain said that it shows Crozier is a person “who is putting the welfare of his sailors ahead of his career.”