The unusual plea from Capt. Brett Crozier, a Santa Rosa native, came in a letter obtained exclusively by The Chronicle and confirmed by a senior officer on board the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, which has been docked in Guam following a COVID-19 outbreak among the crew of more than 4,000 less than a week ago.
“This will require a political solution but it is the right thing to do,” Crozier wrote. “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.”
In the four-page letter to senior military officials, Crozier said only a small contingent of infected sailors have been off-boarded. Most of the crew remain aboard the ship, where following official guidelines for 14-day quarantines and social distancing is impossible.
“Due to a warship’s inherent limitations of space, we are not doing this,” Crozier wrote. “The spread of the disease is ongoing and accelerating.”
He asked for “compliant quarantine rooms” on shore in Guam for his entire crew “as soon as possible.”
“Removing the majority of personnel from a deployed U.S. nuclear aircraft carrier and isolating them for two weeks may seem like an extraordinary measure. ... This is a necessary risk,” Crozier wrote. “Keeping over 4,000 young men and women on board the TR is an unnecessary risk and breaks faith with those Sailors entrusted to our care.”
"Is it time to evacuate [the USS Roosevelt]?" @EsperDOD: "I don't think we're at that point, Norah. We're moving a lot of supplies and assistance, medical assistance out to the carrier in Guam...I'm pleased to report that none of them are seriously ill." https://t.co/e7sI6Fk7Bi pic.twitter.com/XLcLAUes7X— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) March 31, 2020
The Navy did not respond to The Chronicle’s requests for comment Monday, but on Tuesday morning as the news spread, the Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly spoke to CNN. (end of excerpt)
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