The USS Theodore Roosevelt is one of the most formidable weapons in the arsenal of the United States Armed Forces.
The Nimitz-class nuclear power aircraft carrier has a crew of thousands and carries 90 fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. Its range at sea is only limited by food and supplies.
However, these days it is effectively paralyzed at a port in the US territory of Guam with more than 100 young, healthy sailors and soldiers infected with the novel coronavirus.
Now, the captain is pleading with Navy officials for resources to prevent the situation from spiraling out of control. (San Francisco Chronicle)
The unusual plea from Capt. Brett Crozier, a Santa Rosa native, came in a letter obtained exclusively by The Chronicle and confirmed by a senior officer on board the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, which has been docked in Guam following a COVID-19 outbreak among the crew of more than 4,000 less than a week ago.
“This will require a political solution but it is the right thing to do,” Crozier wrote. “We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die. If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset — our Sailors.”
In the four-page letter to senior military officials, Crozier said only a small contingent of infected sailors have been off-boarded. Most of the crew remain aboard the ship, where following official guidelines for 14-day quarantines and social distancing is impossible.
“Due to a warship’s inherent limitations of space, we are not doing this,” Crozier wrote. “The spread of the disease is ongoing and accelerating.”
Want to know more about the latest updates from every state as the coronavirus pandemic continues? Explore our interactive map: