The USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier is finally back to service after spending almost two months in Guam due to a massive COVID-19 outbreak on board, the US Navy announced in Wednesday.
The US Navy said that the Roosevelt had entered the Philippine Sea on 21 May to “conduct carrier qualification flights”.
“It feels great to be back at sea,” Rear Adm. Stu Baker, commander, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 9, said in a statement. “Getting Theodore Roosevelt and Carrier Air Wing 11 one step closer to returning to their mission in the Indo-Pacific is a great achievement for the crew.”
#USSTheodoreRoosevelt departs Guam to conduct carrier qualifications for #CVW11. “We are extremely thankful for the dedicated support and hospitality of Gov. Leon Guerrero, her staff & the people Guam." Capt. Carlos Sardiello, Commanding Officer— U.S. Navy (@USNavy) May 21, 2020
Story: https://t.co/Jal9kVp9NM pic.twitter.com/cRk3BYYpUy
The aircraft carrier was docked after over 1,000 out of its nearly 5,000 crewmembers tested positive for the coronavirus in March. According to the recent Navy announcement, a limited number of sailors will take part in the current deployment.
“We are scaling our manning on board based on our mission requirement,” said Capt. Carlos Sardiello, the Theodore Roosevelt's commanding officer. “Carrier qualification requires fewer personnel than other missions, and bringing fewer Sailors on board will enable enhanced social distancing while underway.”
The Navy said that the sailors have “walked through routine and emergency procedures while executing COVID-19 mitigation measures”.
As of Wednesday, the US remains the country worst-hit by COVID-19, confirming over 1.55 million cases of infection and more than 93,400 fatalities, according to data prepared by Johns Hopkins University.