The USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) is pleading for help to check the outbreak of Corona Virus amongst the crew, who are trapped in close quarters on the ship, docked off the coast of Guam, in the South Pacific, “Where America’s Day Begins.”
Of its 4,000-plus sailors, the infected expanded from the initial 36 on Monday to more than 200 on Wednesday, a spokesman for the Pacific Fleet told reporters. The ship’s captain is asking for all but 10% of the sailors to be removed from the ship and placed in quarantine on shore.
In a copy of an internal memo written by Roosevelt Captain B.E. Crozier and published online on Monday, he outlined the stark reality of facing the onboard virus and the impossible task of quarantining sailors in an environment where maintaining six-feet of personal space is a non-starter. But his plea was to gain permission for the boat to dock so the sick and can be separated from the healthy sailors.
“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,” Crozier said.
The conflict, abetted by the uncertainty and uncharted waters of the mass outbreak, is between Crozier and Guam’s Governor Lou Leon Guerro, and both fighting the Department of Defense to make the decision.
The option is for the sick sailors to descend upon Guam’s “hotel row,”: but the danger is what they really means for exposing the Chamorro people and residents to the virus.
On Monday, a 14-day quarantine was established for anyone arriving on the tropical, muggy and remote island, the last frontier of the American Navy’s reach.
Naval Base Guam, as it’s known today, was first built in 1898, when we took over 212-square-mile Guam from Spain after the Spanish-American War, and now is the home port for four nuclear-powered fast attack submarines and two submarine tenders. The USAF base on the island came into service towards the end of World War II, in 1944, as a runway to send our bombers to Japan.