The US Navy announced on April 8 that 286 sailors aboard the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. According to Navy statistics on COVID-19, almost all of the crew members have been tested for the virus and more than 2,300 members have moved ashore in Guam.
The US Navy has been going through a chaotic situation over its handling of the virus on the aircraft carrier which led to the exit of its top civilian leader Thoms Modly. On April 7, Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced that he has accepted the resignation of Thomas Modly from the post of acting secretary of US Navy. Esper said in a statement that Modly resigned on his own accord, putting the Navy and the Sailors above self so that the USS Theodore Roosevelt, and the Navy as an institution, can move forward.
Modly's resignation came five days after he fired Crozier, the USS Theodore Roosevelt's captain, for leaking a letter that alleged the Pentagon was not paying adequate attention to the situation of COVID-19 outbreak on Roosevelt. Following the leak, Modly accused him of betrayal and called him “too naive or too stupid” in a surprise speech to the crew members of Roosevelt.
The letter by Crozier was leaked and published in the San Francisco Chronicle following which Esper and Modly called it a deliberate action and that it violated Pentagon's chain of command. In the letter, Crozier had described the dire situation on Roosevelt and wrote that it was not a war zone and sailors do not need to die.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday, in a message to the fleet, said that events of the past week have been difficult for the Navy and the nation. He added that there is no better example than USS Theodore Roosevelt staring down an invisible enemy and dedicated in their efforts while making phenomenal progress and providing lessons for the Navy and beyond.
(Image Credit: US Defense)