WASHINGTON — The U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt has returned to sea and is conducting military operations in the Pacific region, 10 weeks after a massive coronavirus outbreak sidelined the Navy warship.
Sailors wearing white face masks lined the flight deck in their dress white uniforms and stood a virus-safe 10 feet apart in a final, formal thank you as the ship sailed out of port in Guam and headed into the Philippine Sea.
The Roosevelt pulled into Guam on March 27 with a rapidly escalating number of sailors testing positive for the virus. Over time, more than 1,000 were infected with COVID-19, setting off a lengthy process to move the sailors ashore for quarantine and treatment.
The ship's former commander, Brett Crozier, was fired shortly after the ship arrived in Guam over a letter he sent to top Navy officials pleading for resources that would allow him to isolate crew members to prevent the spread of COVID-19. At the time the letter was sent, about 100 of his crewmembers had contracted the virus.
Then-acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said he fired Crozier because he felt the letter — which leaked to the press — was too widely disseminated. Modly later admonished sailors on the aircraft carrier for cheering Crozier as he left the ship.
Modly later resigned his post over his handling of the incident.