Three sailors aboard the U.S. Navy Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) currently underway in the Pacific Ocean were diagnosed with coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The infected individuals were evacuated from the ship, according to Acting Navy Secretary Thomas B. Modly.
“We’ve identified all the folks they’ve had contact with, and we’re quarantining them as well,” Modly said at a Pentagon news conference on March 24, where he appeared with Navy Adm. Michael Gilday, the chief of naval operations.
“This is an example of how we are able to keep our ships deployed at seas and underway, even with active COVID-19 cases. Our force remains on watch throughout the world [during] this crisis, and they’re continuing to execute their primary mission under the National Defense Strategy.”
The USS Theodore Roosevelt has recently conducted a scheduled port visit to Da Nang, Vietnam accompanied by the Navy’s Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52).
“The Roosevelt was in port about 15 days ago”, Gilday said, and added, “it would be difficult to tie the three active cases to one particular port visit”.
Multiple sailors abroad an aircraft carrier like USS Theodore Roosevelt being tested positive with COVID-19 is a cause of major concern for the Navy. The ship has a crew complement of around 5,000 including the ship’s company and air wing who support and conduct air operations at sea..
After the scheduled port visit in Vietnam, the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group conducted expeditionary strike force operations with the America Expeditionary Strike Group and 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) in the South China Sea.
The training included basic flight maneuvers, air defense, surface-support mission exercises and various other integrated and unit-level scenarios. One of those was a visit, board, search, and seizure (VBSS) exercise aboard the Navy Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) by U.S. Marines from the 31st MEU.
USS Theodore Roosevelt is America’s fourth Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. The Theodore Roosevelt CGS is currently forward-deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations “in support of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region”.
The Theodore Roosevelt carrier strike group/Carrier Strike Group 9 is comprised of a total of 6,500 Sailors, the aircraft carrier, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11, USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), and six Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers from Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 23.