US Navy ship Theodore Roosevelt, the story of which has led both US Navy Captain Brett Crozier and former Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly to lose their jobs, now has 447 positive coronavirus cases with the numbers continuing to climb. Over 1,000 tests are still pending.
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) April 9, 2020
The ship is an example of how easily coronavirus spreads in densely populated areas. The outbreak started with just three people on March 24.
Several other US Navy ships have also reported positive cases of coronavirus, including USS Nimitz, USS Ronald Reagan, and USS Carl Vinson.
After docking in Vietnam in early March, three sailors from the USS Theodore Roosevelt tested positive for the coronavirus while on its deployment in the Pacific. While Captain Crozier received orders to take the ship to Guam, but he was not given permission to offload most of the sailors. After docking in Guam on March 27, Captain Crozer sent an unclassified email that later leaked to the press and resulted in him being relieved of command of the ship. Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly traveled to Guam to visit the ship in person in early April. After his speech to the ship’s sailors was also leaked to the press, he resigned his post.
The great-grandson of Theodore Roosevelt, Tweed, published an op-ed in the New York Times, defending Captain Crozier’s actions.
Before his rise to national politics, Roosevelt commanded the Rough Riders, a volunteer cavalry regiment, in the invasion of Cuba during the Spanish-American War. The Battle of San Juan Hill had been fought and won, and the war was basically over. However, the soldiers, still deployed in Cuba, faced a far worse enemy: yellow fever and malaria.
As was usual in the days before modern medicine, far more soldiers died of disease than of enemy action. The battlefield commanders, including Roosevelt, wanted to bring the soldiers home. But the leadership in Washington — in particular Russell Alger, the secretary of war — refused, fearing a political backlash. A standoff ensued.