USS Theodore Roosevelt Capt. Brett Crozier Begs For Help As Coronavirus Outbreak Sickens 100 Onboard
Capt. Brett Crozier, a captain of a nuclear aircraft carrier with more than 100 sailors infected with the coronavirus, pleaded with U.S. Navy officials on Monday for resources to prevent the spread of the virus.
Crozier begged U.S. Navy officials in a letter to allow isolation to avoid possible deaths. “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 letter, Crozier said that only a few of those infected have been taken off the USS Theodore Roosevelt, and that most of the crew remain on board.
“Due to a warship’s inherent limitations of space, we are not doing this,” Crozier wrote, referring to social distancing guidelines put out. “The spread of the disease is ongoing and accelerating.”
He asked for “compliant quarantine rooms” for his entire crew “as soon as possible.” “Removing the majority of personnel from a deployed U.S. nuclear aircraft carrier and isolating them for two weeks may seem like an extraordinary measure. … This is a necessary risk,” Crozier wrote. “Keeping over 4,000 young men and women on board the TR is an unnecessary risk and breaks faith with those Sailors entrusted to our care.”
Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly responded to CNN, “I heard about the letter from Capt. Crozier [Tuesday] morning, I know that our command organization has been aware of this for about 24 hours and we have been working actually the last seven days to move those sailors off the ship and get them into accommodations in Guam. The problem is that Guam doesn’t have enough beds right now and we’re having to talk to the government there to see if we can get some hotel space, create tent-type facilities.”
“We don’t disagree with the (captain) on that ship and we’re doing it in a very methodical way because it’s not the same as a cruise ship, that ship has armaments on it, it has aircraft on it, we have to be able to fight fires if there are fires on board the ship, we have to run a nuclear power plant, so there’s a lot of things that we have to do on that ship that make it a little bit different and unique but we’re managing it and we’re working through it,” he added. “We’re very engaged in this, we’re very concerned about it and we’re taking all the appropriate steps.”