The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) returns to San Diego, July 9, 2020. U.S. Navy Photo
The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt has returned to its homeport in San Diego following a more than six month deployment that was plagued by military’s most high profile COVID-19 outbreak onboard.
The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier arrived at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego on Thursday after deploying on January 17 with over 6,000 service members to conduct operations in the Indo-Pacific region in U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.
In early March, the USS Theodore Roosevelt made a historic visit to Da Nang, Vietnam to commemorate 25 years of U.S.-Vietnam diplomatic relations and marking only the second time a U.S. aircraft carrier had visited country since the end of the Vietnam War.
It was there that crew members are believed to have contracted COVID-19, which spread like wildfire through the ship’s close quarters and set off a chain of events that included the high profile firing of the ship’s Commanding Officer and resignation of the Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly.
The outbreak forced the USS Theodore Roosevelt to stop in Guam where sailors were quarantined and the ship was cleaned and sanitized. In all, approximately 1,000 service members were determined to be infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
“The crew of TR persevered displaying uncommon fortitude and tenacity in the face of uncertainty to meet expectations in a crisis,” said Captain Carlos Sardiello, the current commanding officer of Theodore Roosevelt. “This recovery of the ship and the crew on deployment is a testament to the professionalism of the young men and women of the TR who turned a potentially demoralizing downward spiral into a symbol of inspiration and hope against adversity.”
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