The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt flies a replica of Capt. Oliver Hazard Perry's "Don't Give Up the Ship" flag Wednesday. Photo by Will Bennett/U.S. Navy
June 4 (UPI) -- The USS Theodore Roosevelt left Apra Harbor at Naval Base Guam Thursday morning to continue its scheduled deployment in the Indo-Pacific, the Navy announced.
On Tuesday, the Roosevelt completed carrier qualifications, the last milestone required before resuming the deployment it began in January.
"Our forward presence and engagement play an essential role in strengthening the capabilities of Indo-Pacific nations and partners," Rear Adm. Stu Baker, commander of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 9, said in a press release.
The Roosevelt docked in Guam March 27 to isolate, treat and test its crew of nearly 5,000 sailors for COVID-19 after 23 had tested positive for the virus.
By the end of April the number of positive cases had climbed to 940 and one man, chief petty officer Charles Robert Thacker, had died of the virus.
Shortly after the vessel pulled into Guam its captain, Brett Crozier, sent a memo to Navy officials pleading for more resources to help contain the outbreak.
Crozier was subsequently dismissed by Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly, who then traveled to Guam and told sailors the popular captain was "stupid" for failing to realize his memo could go public.
Modly subsequently resigned, and at the end of April the Navy announced it would conduct a deeper investigation into the ship's outbreak.
Most of the ship's crew were treated isolated on the island as a rotating crew remained on the ship for an intensive deep cleaning.
According to the Navy, an unspecified number of sailors remain on Guam receiving treatment for the illness.
"Every recovered Sailor we embark is another victory against COVID," said Capt. Carlos Sardiello. "We remain dedicated to the recovery of every TR Sailor. Those ashore will continue to receive the best medical care by military medical representatives. We greatly appreciate the continued support by Naval Base Guam, U.S. Naval Hospital Guam and Expeditionary Medical Facility from Camp Pendleton."
As of Wednesday, the Navy reports more than 2,500 total cases of COVID-19 in its active ranks, including an unspecified number of sailors aboard the USS Carter Hall who tested positive in May.