Sailors Belong On Ships…

| May 23, 2020 | 29 Comments

“The Big Stick” departs Apra Harbor at Naval Base Guam on Thursday, May 21, 2020, following an extended visit to Guam in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

…And Ships Belong At Sea.

USS Theodore Roosevelt, CVN-71, is the fourth Nimitz class nuclear powered aircraft carrier. Her keel was laid down on 31 October 1981, with Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger initiating the first weld.   Her maiden deployment on 30 December 1988 with Carrier Air Wing Eight (CVW-8) embarked. The ship patrolled the Mediterranean Sea prior to returning on 30 June 1989.

She has been docked at Guam since 27 March 2020 due to an on-board outbreak of the coronavirus. 

Boomer sends.

USS Theodore Roosevelt Deploys to Philippine Sea After COVID-19 Outbreak

WASHINGTON – The USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier is back at sea for the first time in nearly two months after a coronavirus outbreak onboard infected more than 1,100 sailors.

The U.S. Navy said the ship entered the Philippine Sea Thursday “to conduct carrier qualification flights for the embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11.”

The ship arrived in Guam on March 27 after an outbreak of the coronavirus. All of the nearly 5,000 sailors onboard were tested for COVID-19 in the following weeks.

One Roosevelt sailor died from the virus on April 13 and nine others were hospitalized. The Navy said most of the approximately 1,140 crewmembers who tested positive for COVID-19 were asymptomatic.

More than 1,500 crewmembers remain at Naval Base Guam, including about 700 who had tested positive during the outbreak, a Navy official told VOA on Thursday. Fourteen of those sailors had recovered from the virus but then tested positive again according to the official.

A Navy press release said there were enough crewmembers onboard to complete the current mission requirement.

“Carrier qualification requires fewer personnel than other missions and bringing fewer sailors on board will enable enhanced social distancing while underway,” said Captain Carlos Sardiello, Theodore Roosevelt’s commanding officer.

The carrier is the focus of an ongoing investigation into how the coronavirus outbreak was handled onboard. At the center of the review lies the fate of Brett Crozier, the Roosevelt’s Captain during the outbreak who was removed from his post for raising COVID-19 concerns in an email to superiors.

Read the entire article here: VOA News

Thanks, Boomer.

Category: Coronavirus, Guest Link, Navy

Comments (29)

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  1. Combat Historian says:

    With the rising tensions with the chicoms and their increasingly aggressive and violent attempts to dominate the South China Sea and adjacent sea lanes and approaches, it may be time to permanently assign a second CVN to Seventh Fleet, with one based in Japan and another based on Guam. Even better, if the USA has the cojones, one of the CVNs homeported in Taiwan…

  2. Hondo says:

    Hmm. 1,140 sailors from the USS Roosevelt tested positive for the Wuhan coronavirus – resulting in 1 death and 9 additional hospitalizations.

    Let’s pull out the calculator. Why, that appears to be a serious complication rate (e.g., death or presumably life-threatening illness requiring hospitalization) of 10/1140, or 0.87719+%. That appears to be well under 1 per 100 infections.

    FWIW: it’s also a fatality rate of less than 0.09% (1 in 1,140 documented infections among the crew).

    • SteelyI says:

      It’s a risk, the type we pay commanders to manage. In this case, Crozier failed to live up to the challenge. Regardless of who leaked his letter to the press, he abdicated his responsibility and forced the Navy’s hand.

      As a result, we lost roughly 30% of our available carrier fleet, and a frankly unacceptable portion of our combat power in the Pacific.

      There were so many better ways to handle this, but we came up with the worst possible outcome. Coupled with the Gallagher fiasco I am seriously concerned with the Navy’s senior leadership these days.

      • Anderson says:

        No offense, as someone that’s assigned to the Roosevelt I can tell you Captain Crozier did anything but fail to live up to the challenge. He was faced with an unprecedented challenge, and acted with our best interests in mind, which is the exact opposite of what the rest of the Navy was doing for us while we sat pierside in Guam with nowhere to go for days as the virus spread.

        Captain Crozier knew the measures that were in place would not be effective, and that there could be potential deaths if it was not resolved soon. So he acted with our interests in mind, and got us the help we needed after the Navy was spurred into action.

        I’m also not sure exactly where you’re getting an a 30% loss from considering we have the Reagan and Ike both out to see with the Carl Nimitz soon to be going underway too. Not to mention you have the America LHA and her contingent sailing around the area as well. Plenty of assets to react if something were to occur.

        I’m not expecting you to understand because you haven’t been here to witness how bad things got. The fact we lost a sailor period in peacetime when it could’ve been prevented is very disheartening. But I hope you can at least appreciate that he looked out for our best interests, and he has our upmost respect for that and always will. It was a pleasure to fly with Captain Crozier, and I don’t think I’ve worked with a more professional and humble leader than him.

        • 5th/77th FA says:

          Thanks for this comment Anderson. This is the FIRST that we have heard from someone who was actually there. My sympathies to the troops who lost a shipmate and my Thanks for all that did their duty under what had to be trying conditions.

        • Slow Joe says:

          I am not convinced.

          I suspect Crozier was watching CNN and believed a high percentage of infected sailors would die.

          That’s the only explanation for someone with so many years of service panicking. He thought it was the end of the world.

          When the number of people getting infected started going up, he was like OMG, I am gonna lose half the carrier!

          • Anderson says:

            I don’t expect you to be convinced. I’m simply giving you my two cents from someone who is on the ship and witnessed how things unfolded. It’s easy to look back on things and think of how it could’ve been done differently. Our ship, and Captain Crozier in particular, did not have that luxury when we were faced with something rather unprecedented. The Navy does not have a playbook for this, it’s not really secret. Their response to this was inadequate because we were woefully unprepared to handle something like this. He was faced with a rapidly spreading outbreak that was not being contained. Medical was being overwhelmed with cases, and despite our squadron conducting MEDEVACs off the ship into Guam, it wasn’t enough to stop the spread.

            I’m sure I don’t have to tell you, but you can’t effectively social distance on an aircraft carrier when you have over 5,000 sailors aboard living within close proximity to one another. The only way they were able to stem the amount of cases was getting people off the ship into isolation, and that was only because Captain Crozier wrote his memo to his fellow Captains aboard the ship and his immediate supervisor at CSG-9 to get us help and get people moved off. Nothing had been done for days, and the Navy was clearly not moving fast enough. Whoever leaked the letter (and before you say Captain Crozier he has already been vindicated and proven to have not been the one) felt like it warranted getting the attention of the media.

            Finally, if you still fault Captain Crozier for what he did, I’d like you to take a look at what Theodore Roosevelt himself did during the famed Round Robin Letter that he wrote during the Spanish American War. You’ll find that his actions are strikingly similar to what Captain Crozier did.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Round-Robin_Letter_(Spanish–American_War)

            • 11B-Mailclerk says:

              He wrote that letter. He distributed it in a manner that any reasonable person would know was likely to leak. It contained readiness information he knew was impermissible in that channel.

              That was wrong. Regardless of motive or motivation, it was knowingly wrong.

              Mission is first. Men Always, yes, but -mission first-.

              And that means, sometimes you have to drive on past illness, even one that might kill folks. The prior “Hong Kong Flu” and “Asian Flu” events were -far- more lethal.

              Do you think the ChiComs did not just learn a cheap way to knock out a Carrier from the Captain’s actions?

              Those ships are little but fat targets tied up at the pier. At sea with a skeleton crew they are still the most lethal thing floating. (Ever)

              On the grand scheme of things, a handful of casualties is the cost of the “superpower” business. I assure you, our enemies won’t Beach key assets over flu bugs, or even worse. If we ain’t hard enough to face a bug that sickens most and kills very few, how hard are we going to be when things start going “kaboom” ?

              This was a test of character.

              We failed.

        • SFC D says:

          No offense taken, everyone here is appreciative of hearing from folks with the “been there done that” creds! I’ve tried to keep an open mind about the whole situation, I see a lot of positives and negatives on the CAPT’s handling of it. I don’t doubt his intentions of maintaining crew safety one bit, it was obvious his crew held him in very high regard.

        • Poetrooper says:

          Anderson, thank you for taking the time to give us your view of things. As one of the old geezers on this site whose “been there and done that” is a half century past, I took note of this:

          “The fact we lost a sailor PERIOD in peacetime when it could’ve been prevented is very disheartening.”

          During the six years I spent in the Army’s airborne infantry, we frequently experienced deaths during training operations. I personally watched a Huey Slick with six jumpers aboard suddenly drop several hundred feet, killing all aboard.

          I don’t ever recall finding such incidents “very disheartening”–tragic, yes–disheartening no. We knew full well our training was dangerous because the mission that many of us were eventually called on to fulfill in Vietnam was going to be much more so.

          I do not believe the current peacetime military environment is any less dangerous than during my own service period–in fact I think it is probably more so. That being the case, if a single death incurred during peacetime operations is “very disheartening” perhaps a different career path is in order for those who find it so.

        • SteeleyI says:

          First, thank you for your service in a challenging time. I can only imagine that it was incredibly difficult.

          I think a lot of folks have already covered the COVID piece, so I won’t revisit other than to say that I think CAPT Crozier did what he thought was the right thing, which was take care of his sailors.

          Here’s what I mean about the available carrier fleet. Generally speaking when you look at readiness of ‘above the line’ forces, you have to use a rule of 3s- 1/3 is in refit and 1/3 is in training, leaving only 1/3 available for operations.

          Sure, you can accelerate the maintenance phase and you can cut training short, but it is expensive and risky (fast, good, cheap, pick two). This is true of all the services- Army BCTs, USAF fighter squadrons, USMC MEUs, you name it.

          We have 5 CSGs assigned to the Pacific fleet (1,3,5,9,11).

          Of the 6 Carriers assigned to the Pacific, 2 are in maintenance, 2 are in or just completed their workups but are home-ported in CONUS, and 2 (T.R. and Reagan) are forward deployed.

          The small deck carriers simply do not have the capability of the Nimitz class; the Navy is looking at changing that up, but for now there is no comparison.

          So, taking the TR out of the fight, so to speak, took a huge chunk out of our readiness.

          https://thehill.com/opinion/national-security/495756-where-are-the-carriers

    • 11B-Mailclerk says:

      You were not supposed to notice that.

      • David says:

        Also note that Crozier panicked over 1/500th of his crew becoming physically ill.

        • 5th/77th FA says:

          Hondo/David, my math skilz can be a little fuzzy sometimes. I do alright with ‘rithmetic..well until I hit them guzentas and we all know I have to get nekkid to count to 21.

          Do them fractions mean I had a larger chance, a smaller chance, or about the same chance of getting sick on The Stick as Lie-a-watha has to be a Native American?

          Good to hear that The Stick is off of sick call and back on some semblance of duty.

          • David says:

            .2% chance of getting sick, .0000000001% chance for Fauxcahontas. Glad I could help clarify.

            • 5th/77th FA says:

              Tanks man! I needed the help. Damn shame we shut down a 22 trillion dollar economy for a bug that has a 99.something % survival rate.

              • Hondo says:

                To be fair, that’s the survival rate in a group selected from a generally young, healthy population that gets more physical exercise than the average US citizen. But yeah, the fatality rate among Wuhan coronavirus cases on the USS Theodore Roosevelt was somewhat less than 1/1024. (smile)

                • Poetrooper says:

                  Ah, Hondo, please recall that the inimitable SteeleyI previously ridiculed ol ‘Poe for pointing out the youth and health advantage of the TR’s crew, claiming that they likely were overweight and out of shape, generally possessed of poor living habits.

                  But then, what the hell do I know?

    • NHSparky says:

      And the one death was a 41-year old male.

      Granted, one is too many, but it goes to what we’ve known so far, that the hospitalization and mortality rates are almost exclusively restricted to the >50-60 population, and even then those without underlying health conditions are at much lower risk.

  3. SteeleyI says:

    I don’t think we’ll homeport a carrier in Taiwan.

    It would needlessly provoke the Chinese- it would be a clearly aggressive and extremely risky move. A carrier docked in Taiwan would be within range of Chinese A2AD systems 24/7, and would be taken out in the first minute or two of an armed conflict, either by a hypersonic missile or Chinese agents in Taiwan using hybrid methods (COVID-2021, anyone?).

    Also, US strategy is currently built around Dynamic Force Employment- check out page 7 of the NDS here:

    https://dod.defense.gov/Portals/1/Documents/pubs/2018-National-Defense-Strategy-Summary.pdf

    Basically, we’re coming at them like spider monkeys by taking out any predictability of what forces we deploy to various Combatant Command AORs.

    Finally, it would make more sense to deploy some ground based long shooters to the unsinkable aircraft career we call Taiwan. Imagine if we sold the ROC a few ATACMs and Patriot systems. That would be a game changer…

    • Combat Historian says:

      ROC currently has one ADA battalion of mixed Patriot PAC2s and PAC3s in its TOE. They could certainly use three more battalions of advanced Patriots and ATACMs…

    • MCPO USN says:

      Put a carrier in Busan, South Korea. Double bang for the buck. Watch North Korea AND China freak out…

      • NHSparky says:

        Probably not the ideal place. The waters around Korea and the Yellow Sea are extremely shallow.

        Guam might be doable and wouldn’t add much to transit time, plus some nuclear work could be done there by the R-5/10 folks off the tender.

  4. Radioactive G-Spot says:

    I spent a few years on The Stick (’93-’97) back in the day. I’m glad see she’s back at it keeping the world safe.

  5. CCO says:

    My cousin’s son served on the Big Stick; his son is at sea (at last report) ferrying Marine’s around on the USS Bataan (and one of our part-timer’s at work has a boyfriend on the same MEU).

  6. Poetrooper says:

    As someone who has been critical of Captain Crozier from the outset of this fiasco, my beliefs remain unchanged. In fact, they are strengthened by how it has resolved. Captain Crozier clearly overreacted; he panicked and placed this country’s forward offensive and defensive capabilities in potential jeopardy.

    I can best sum up my attitude towards Crozier like this:

    As a former NCO combat veteran, I would not want to serve under this officer in combat.

  7. David says:

    I am glad to hear Crozier was popular and had the confidence and affection of his crew. But given that he almost single-handedly caused a loss of a capitol ship (thankfully when she was not needed as such) I question whether he was necessarily a good commander and officer. Not in his shoes, but it seems even to a putz like me he should have weighed his decisions far better.

  8. 11B-Mailclerk says:

    I want -this- man commanding.

    Cmdr. Ernest Evans
    USS Johnston
    MOH

    “This is going to be a fighting ship. I intend to go in harm’s way, and anyone who doesn’t want to go along had better get off right now.”

    As his destroyer was broken to scrap and sinking having successfully engaged vastly larger ships, the enemy saluted as they passed, an overwhelming juggernaut on their way to an absurd upset defeat at the hands of other such men with whom America was blessed.

    https://www.public.navy.mil/surfor/swmag/Pages/Surface-Warrior.aspx

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