The USS Theodore Roosevelt returned to its home port in San Diego after a six-month deployment, more than two months of which was spent docked in Guam to contain a COVID-19 outbreak. Photo courtesy of Official CVN 71/Twitter
July 9 (UPI) -- The USS Theodore Roosevelt returned to its home port in San Diego Thursday after a six-month deployment that was lengthened as soldiers fought to contain a coronavirus outbreak on board.
The vessel was deployed Jan. 17 to the Indo-Pacific as part of the USS Roosevelt Strike Group and embarked Carrier Air Wing 11.
Following a port visit to Da Nang, Vietnam -- only the second time a U.S. aircraft carrier has visited the country since the end of the Vietnam War -- the Roosevelt docked in Guam at the end of March to isolate and treat sailors after an outbreak of COVID-19 on board.
The ship remained in Guam for more than two months, returning to redeployment in early June.
Nearly 1,000 sailors on its crew of 4,800 were infected with the novel coronavirus and one man, Chief Petty Officer Charles Robert Thacker, Jr., died.
Shortly after the Roosevelt docked, its captain, Brett Crozier, sent a memo pleading with the Navy for more resources to help contain the spread of the virus.
He was subsequently fired.
Then the acting secretary of the Navy criticized Crozier for allowing the letter to go public in a profanity-laden rant to sailors on the ship -- and subsequently resigned.
"I am incredibly proud of the Theodore Roosevelt Strike Group and all they've accomplished over the deployment," said Rear Adm. Doug Verissimo, commander, Carrier Strike Group 9. "They operated in a variety of complex environments ranging from how to respond to an international pandemic to operating safely throughout the Indo-Pacific, including the South China Sea."
Last week the Navy reported a second death on board, Aviation Electronics Technician Chief Petty Officer Justin Calderone. A Navy spokesman said the service is awaiting autopsy results, but also that Calderone had repeatedly tested negative for COVID-19.
In mid-June an an F/A-18F Super Hornet launched from the Roosevelt crashed in the Philippine Sea. Both the pilot and the weapons officer involved in the crash survived.