Author Topic: Captain of aircraft carrier asks USN to evacuate crew amid COVID-19 outbreak  (Read 1379 times)

adroth

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Captain of aircraft carrier asks U.S. Navy to evacuate crew amid 'accelerating' COVID-19 outbreak
Jeanine Santucci
USA TODAY

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/03/31/covid-19-uss-theodore-roosevelt-captain-asks-navy-evacuate-crew/5097745002/

The captain of an aircraft carrier is asking the U.S. Navy to step in to evacuate and isolate its crew as cases of the coronavirus have broken out among members.

In a four-page letter dated Monday and first obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle, Navy Captain Brett Crozier of the USS Theodore Roosevelt said that "decisive action" was required to prevent deaths from the coronavirus, and that the sailors on board were currently unable to comply with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to keep them safe because of the ship's close quarters.

Crozier wrote that "we are not at war, and therefore cannot allow a single Sailor to perish as a result of this pandemic unnecessarily."

First U.S. service member dies:National Guardsman, former Ocean County resident dies from coronavirus

Coronavirus cases were first reported on the ship last week and continued to grow, prompting the Navy to announce it would conduct testing on all of the approximately 5,000 sailors aboard.

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« Last Edit: April 01, 2020, 11:04:05 AM by adroth »

adroth

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3 Sailors Aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt Test Positive, First Deployed Cases
By Sophia McCullough • Published March 24, 2020 • Updated on March 24, 2020 at 3:20 pm
 
https://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/3-sailors-aboard-uss-theodore-roosevelt-test-positive-first-deployed-cases/2292194/

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USS Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group deployed from Naval Air Station Coronado in January with over 6,000 personnel.

The CSG is made up of USS Theodore Roosevelt, Carrier Air Wing 11, USS Bunker Hill, Destroyer Squadron 23, USS Russell, USS Paul Hamilton, USS Pinckney, USS Kidd and USS Rafael Peralta.

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adroth

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Commander of aircraft carrier hit by coronavirus removed for 'poor judgment' after sounding alarm
By Ryan Browne, Zachary Cohen and Jamie Crawford, CNN

Updated 12:17 AM ET, Fri April 3, 2020

https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/02/politics/uss-roosevelt-commander-relieved/index.html

Washington (CNN)The commander of a US aircraft carrier that has been hit by a major outbreak of coronavirus has been relieved of command for showing "poor judgment" days after writing a memo warning Navy leadership that decisive action was needed to save the lives of the ship's crew, acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly announced on Thursday.

"Today at my direction the commanding officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, Captain Brett Crozier, was relieved of command by carrier strike group commander Rear Admiral Stewart Baker," Modly said during a Pentagon press briefing.

Modly told reporters that Crozier was removed for showing "extremely poor judgment" and creating a "firestorm" by too widely disseminating the memo detailing his concerns, copying some 20 to 30 people.

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adroth

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Captain Fired by Navy Gets Rousing Farewell from Sailors
Videos show how Capt. Crozier walked down gangplank of the USS Theodore Roosevelt to cheers

By Nancy A. Youssef and Gordon Lubold
Updated April 3, 2020 6:54 pm ET

https://www.wsj.com/articles/captain-fired-by-navy-gets-rousing-farewell-from-sailors-11585933116

WASHINGTON—Videos showing support from the ship’s crew for the fired Navy captain of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt appeared on social media Friday, reflecting a growing outcry over his dismissal by Navy officials this week.

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adroth

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Modly Apologizes to Roosevelt Crew, Former CO as Navy Extends Investigation; Trump Says He ‘May Just Get Involved’
By: Sam LaGrone
April 6, 2020 6:54 PM • Updated: April 6, 2020 10:05 PM

https://news.usni.org/2020/04/06/navy-stretching-out-investigation-into-carrier-roosevelt-cos-letter-trump-says-hes-going-to-get-involved

The Navy is going to extend an investigation into the circumstances around a leaked message from the commander of USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) to service leadership sounding the alarm his sailors were at risk from an “accelerating” COVID-19 outbreak on the aircraft carrier.

The probe into decisions made by Capt. Brett Crozier, originally set to wrap up today, was to “consider command climate and circumstances surrounding the response, including communication throughout the administrative and operational chains of command,” the service said last week.

Now, the service is set to take a few more days to wrap up the investigation, according to a statement provided to USNI News.

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adroth

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Navy Secretary officially resigns, capping bizarre 24-hour Theodore Roosevelt fiasco
J.D. Simkins
4 days ago

https://www.navytimes.com/news/your-navy/2020/04/07/navy-secretary-resigns-capping-24-hour-theodore-roosevelt-fiasco/

Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly has officially resigned, capping perhaps the most tumultuous 24-hour public relations fiasco the sea service has ever encountered.

Modly notified Secretary of Defense Mark Esper of his resignation Tuesday following a meeting between the two. Esper subsequently confirmed Modly’s resignation in an official statement.

“He resigned on his own accord, putting the Navy and the Sailors above self so that the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt, and the Navy as an institution, can move forward,” Esper said in an official statement.

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Esper has appointed Acting United States Under Secretary of the Army James McPherson as the new acting secretary of the Navy. McPherson was confirmed as the Army’s number two official just 15 days ago. He becomes the third Army official tapped by Esper in recent months to fill top roles.

Modly’s resignation comes less than 24 hours after numerous Democratic members of Congress called for his firing over his handling of the dismissal of Capt. Brett Crozier, the former commanding officer of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, who penned a leaked letter pleading for U.S. intervention to stifle a COVID-19 outbreak on the 4,800-person ship.

On Monday, Modly kicked off a whirlwind of events when he boarded a flight destined for Guam, where, upon arrival, he addressed Theodore Roosevelt sailors in a speech that immediately raised eyebrows throughout the fleet and in Washington.

Over the ship’s 1MC intercom — the audio of the speech was obtained by Military Times — Modly told Roosevelt sailors that their commanding officer was either “too naïve or too stupid to be a commanding officer of a ship like this.”

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« Last Edit: April 12, 2020, 11:55:57 AM by adroth »

adroth

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Exclusive: Navy commander says virus-struck aircraft carrier crew 'struggling' after captain's firing
Barbara Starr-Profile-Image
By Barbara Starr, CNN Pentagon Correspondent

Updated 2:30 PM ET, Sat April 11, 2020

https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/10/politics/navy-commander-carrier-crew-struggling/index.html

Washington (CNN)The top Navy admiral overseeing the virus-stricken aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt tells CNN in an exclusive interview that he found some sailors "struggling" and "upset" after their commanding officer was relieved of duty by the ousted acting navy secretary who was forced to resign over the matter.

The commander of the 7th Fleet, Vice Admiral Bill Merz, also told CNN that a better job could have been done communicating with crew members about the virus and how the Navy was handling it.

Merz, who is now in a precautionary 14-day isolation period after spending more than six hours on the Roosevelt earlier this week, offered the first direct view into the concerns of many crew members in a nearly 30-minute interview after visiting the ship in Guam.
He described a crew that felt significant anxiety over what they viewed as a lack of information that had been given to them about the virus.

"There was lots of anxiety about the virus," Merz said. "As you can imagine the morale covers the spectrum, considering what they have been through," he said.

Stress and anger

Merz was visiting after acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly resigned, following his decision to fire the Roosevelt's commander, Captain Brett Crozier, after a widely distributed message Crozier wrote about his concerns about the impact of the virus on the crew become public.

Merz repeatedly described the crew as capable and performing well, but clearly in an unprecedented state after the virus hit and their commanding officer, or CO, was abruptly relieved of duty.

The carrier crew was "struggling in the wake of losing their CO and their perception of the lack of activity regarding fighting the virus," Merz said.

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adroth

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USS Theodore Roosevelt Back Underway 2 Months After COVID Outbreak
By: Sam LaGrone
May 20, 2020 7:28 PM • Updated: May 20, 2020 8:03 PM

https://news.usni.org/2020/05/20/uss-theodore-roosevelt-back-underway-2-months-after-covid-outbreak

USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) is underway for the first time since its deployment was interrupted for 55 days to battle a COVID-19 outbreak that infected almost a quarter of the crew, USNI has learned.

The aircraft carrier left the pier at Naval Base Guam with more than half of its crew to start workups to return to its deployment. This first underway will likely be brief and consist of basic drills to certify the crew can handle the carrier after the extended time away from sea, Navy officials told USNI News.

The carrier has been in port since pulling into Guam on March 27, after an outbreak of COVID-19 was discovered on the carrier in the midst of its Pacific deployment. The outbreak infected more than 1,000 sailors of the 4,800 sailors aboard and resulted in the death of Aviation Ordnanceman Chief Petty Officer Charles Robert Thacker Jr.

Since the end of April, the Navy has undergone the process of moving sailors back aboard after keeping them in isolation for at least 14 days and requiring each sailor to test negative twice for COIVD-19. As of Sunday, 2,900 sailors had moved aboard the carrier after the quarantine period on Guam.

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“The ship will commence underway training and carrier qualifications to support the air wing’s return to operational readiness. During the underway, the ship will leave sailors ashore that are not required for these evolutions,” reads a statement from the carrier.
“This will enable the ship to conduct training at sea while personnel left in Guam can support the recovery of the rest of the crew who remain in quarantine or isolation. During this transition, the ship will enforce strict cleaning protocols and maintain social distancing as part of the phased approach to returning the ship to operations.”

The length of the pause requires the ship’s crew and the embarked Carrier Air Wing 11 to requalify to operate as a team before returning to deployment. Wednesday’s underway will be the first of several to return the ship to fighting shape.

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While the carrier is preparing to return to sea, service is in the midst of an investigation into not only the firing of former TR commander Capt. Brett Crozier after the COVID-19 outbreak on the carrier but also issues surrounding the wider operational chain of command. The report is due to Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday on May 27.