Health: The Pandemic Reaches the USS Theodore Roosevelt

The Story:

Captain Brett Crozier, an Annapolis graduate, was relieved of his command of the Aircraft Carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt on April 2, by Acting Secretary of the Nay Thomas Modly, after a four page memorandum he had written concerning the danger the Covid-19 pandemic posed to the crew of the Theodore Roosevelt had bee leaked to the press.


The ship made a four day long port call in Da Nang, Vietnam, early last month. In departed on March 9. The first sailor tested positive, according to the on-board laboratory, on March 22. Crozier began having sailors airlifted to the Naval Base in Guam soon thereafter, and the ship docked in Guam on March 26.

These developments Crozier to send an emailed memo to his superiors in the chain of command of the US Pacific Fleet, asking for the authority to evacuate all non-essential sailors, quarantine all the known Covid-19 cases under his command and sanitize the ship. The Acting Secretary of Defense, in relieving Crozier, complained that he has sent the letter to “20 or 30 people,” some of them outside the chain of command. That claim has been disputed.

The Thing to Know:

The decision to re-assign Crozier is sure to heighten the feeling that the vulnerability of the United States to this pandemic is greater than the administration wants to let on, and that people who say so frankly and accurately, are thrown under a metaphorical bus.

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