Navy releases report on USS Roosevelt COVID outbreak

| September 20, 2020

Well the Navy has released their 1,897 page of CYA material regarding the outbreak of COVID on the Big Stick earlier this year. The event was highly publicized by the carrier’s captain, who was relieved of command for it.

The KoB sends that has “Six big takeaways”;

At least one leader regretted stopping in Vietnam.

Navy officials have said they’ve found no fault in the decision to allow the Theodore Roosevelt and one other ship to make a port call in Vietnam in the early days of the pandemic, when the illness was spreading in the region.

Most officers involved in the decision making, including the fleet commander and the flag officer aboard ship, think that the port call was handled as safely as possible with the information available at the time, one regrets it.

One of the ship’s executive officers (it’s not clear which XO is quoted as the name’s redacted) said,

“Knowing everything I know now, I probably would not go into port,” he told investigators.

I feel like that should be a sentiment shared by every officer involved.

[Captain] Crozier explains the email that led to his firing.

“My intent in sending the email on 30 March was to bring a sense of urgency to a rapidly deteriorating and potentially deadly situation onboard the TR and avoid a larger catastrophe and loss of life,” Crozier said in a witness statement. “Although my method may have been imperfect, I reached out to those in my Chain of Command whom I believed were in the best position to provide immediate assistance to expedite the necessary decision and action.

“Despite possible long-term repercussions to my career,” the captain added, “I acted in what I believed was in the best interest of the Sailors aboard TR.”

There was concern over sailors hiding symptoms.

Once the Teddy Roosevelt stopped in Guam to increase social distancing and quarantine measures by unloading crew members, rumors were spreading about the conditions ashore. According to the report, they included claims about bad meals, no internet or phone service and uncomfortable cots.

The executive officer said the carrier’s leaders were worried some might even hide their symptoms to avoid leaving the ship.

What? Sailors wouldn’t jump at the chance to go ashore, sleep on cots, eat crappy food, and have no modern luxuries? It seems the Navy just discovered that their sailors aren’t Marines.

‘A failure.’

Gilday cited Crozier’s decision to release sailors aboard the Roosevelt from a designated quarantine area, which the CNO said potentially put others at risk, when explaining why the captain’s relief would be upheld. The investigation details a complex situation in the ship’s aft quarantine space.

Multiple witness statements, including from Crozier and the XO, detail what the report refers to as “human suffering” in the aft quarantine area. The large number of sailors there was “unmanageable,” one witness said.

Quarantining a quarter of the ship’s crew on board was a dismal failure. The day after ending the on-ship quarantine, Crozier sent out his fateful e-mail.

There were alternate port options.

Before Navy leaders decided to have the Roosevelt stop in Guam, they were also considering sending the carrier to Japan, Hawaii or San Diego.

No surprises there. The governor of Guam demanded the sailors brought ashore be strictly quarantined to prevent a widespread outbreak. That seems like a prudent move on her part.

Leaders prepared for casualties.

As COVID-19 cases first began spreading on the ship, Crozier said they began preparing for the worst early on.

“We were reminded by … to review our command Casualty Assistance Calls Officer procedures to ensure we were prepared for a possible fatality,” Crozier told investigators.

One Roosevelt sailor, Chief Petty Officer Charles Robert Thacker Jr., a 41-year-old aviation ordnanceman, died of COVID-19 in April. Thacker had tested positive for the illness in late March and was moved off the ship and into isolation with other crew members with the virus.

Another prudent move.

To the surprise of noone, the one-star in command of the carrier strike group, who was aboard USS TR the whole time and is still in command, is apparently minimally to blame in this whole affair. His scheduled promotion to two star is being put on hold, but he’s retaining his command.

Category: "Your Tax Dollars At Work", Coronavirus, COVID-19, DC Government, Guest Link, Navy

Comments (21)

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  1. So the one star on board the Filthy dirty rusty (FDR) is still in command. So it’s thee that gets shit canned but not me. sounds like a double standard there.

    • Slow Joe says:

      I thought it was the Theodore Roosevelt, not the lesser Roosevelt, Franklin Delano.

      The Big Stick, you know.

      “Talk softly and carry a big stick”.

    • MCPO USN says:

      Slow Joe is correct. The FDR is the Roosevelt DDG-80, based in Florida.

      • MCPO USN;
        Seems to be a mixup here. The post is about the Air craft carrier and not the DDG-80. I’m commenting that When I was on board the Okinawa LPH 3 from 1963-1966, The Aircraft Carrier known as the Roosevelt CV-42 was called the Filthy Dirty Rusty as in FDR.(Franklin Delano Roosevelt)

        • KoB says:

          Here ya go Jeff! CV42 has a web page!

          • Thanks KoB;
            I’m listed on under Amphibious Assault ships USS Okinawa LPH 3 so to make sure I wasn’t losing my memory from Slow Joe And Master Chief, I had to look up the CV-42. I call it what I mentioned above even though it is a newer Carrier which I should have mentioned on my first comment. Go to Navy crew list reunite with old navy buddies USS Okinawa LPH 3 open up 1963-1964 and scroll down where you can see my 18 year old photo like the one on the members gallery. You will see a black spot with the word picture to click on.

          • KoB, MCPO USN,

            I didn’t know where my head was on the nick name of the “Big Stick” Roosevelt as the nick name of the wrong carrier. 2:07AM this morning as I walked to the head, the bullshit alarm went off in my head and I realized I gave the wrong carrier the FDR nick name. You guys had everything right that I was giving the wrong name. Am on my third bottle of Prevagen to improve my memory so maybe I should ask for my money back. Sorry guys.

  2. timactual says:

    ” According to the report, they included claims about bad meals, no internet or phone service and uncomfortable cots.”


    • 5th/77th FA says:

      Testify timactual. I almost spewed a fresh Yuengling all over the screen when I FIRST read this before sending it to Mason. Poor Babies! ( 😛 ) Prolly didn’t have any mid-rats either…The Horror!!!

      I’m not a sailor,never been a sailor, and I don’t portray one on TV. I have lusted after some of the girl sailors that I’ve watched on JAG, and a certain girl Marine. I figured this investigation was all about covering ass and a’fixing blame. That is a Mission Accomplished! According to the keyboard commandos in the article comments it is, big surprise,…wait for it…TRUMPS FAULT!

      Guess what geniuses? Five minutes before the Japanese bombs starting falling on the morning of 7 Dec ’41, we were at peace. A service member’s life is on the line from the moment they sign that blank check by taking that oath.

    • MSG Eric says:

      Now the Navy is sounding like the Air Force. When did that happen?

    • NHSparky says:

      Sounds like my 2 years in Guam.

  3. AW1Ed says:

    For our Nautically Challenged members like Gun Bunny and presumably timactual, do you think such amenities like descent chow, livable berthing and family comms are just perks of being in the Navy?
    Well, they are, so suck it up and go back to your muddy foxholes and Meals Refusing to Exit. Remember, “Be All You Can Be.”
    In the Navy.

    • 11B-Mailclerk says:

      I have seen those footlockers in which Navy EMs are expected to sleep. No thanks.

      • timactual says:

        My father was in the Navy and I got to tour several ships, from submarine to carrier, and see the berthing spaces. That’s one reason I joined the Army. And being a pessimist, I figured if the chipped beef on a shingle hit the fan I can walk (or run) a lot farther and faster than I can swim.

        Speaking of “chipped beef on a shingle”, I actually liked the Army version, and looked forward to it.

  4. P. D. M. says:

    I served on USS CLEVELAND LPD-7 from 1983-1986 my mattress was thin and crappy, the mess deck always had 1500 marines waiting to eat adobo and rice, we had no internet, period… and no phone unless you went to the pier. Hell my recruiter told me the bunks were worse than jail and the food wasn’t that good. And my MEU brothers bunks were canvas and more crappy, and sometimes they were on a cold beach packed in mud, sick and didn’t eat at all. Do they have a concierge and room service on the ships now?

    Name edited to protect PII.

  5. USMC Steve says:

    What was the casualty count finally on the ship? How many got sick and how many died total?

    • David says:

      According to an article datelined 9/18, 1200 tested positive, a few dozen hospitalized, one death.

      • USMC Steve says:

        And the ship captain felt it necessary to violate chain of command to get some headlines on what was basically a non event? There are what over 3500 people on that ship?