PHILIPPINE SEA (March 18, 2020) An F/A-18F Super Hornet, assigned to the “Black Knights” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 154, launches from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) March 18, 2020. The Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group is on a scheduled deployment to the Indo-Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Nicholas V. Huynh)
On Thursday, a U.S. sailor from the USS Theodore Roosevelt was found unresponsive in his isolation room. Today, the sailor was pronounced dead. The sailor’s name is being withheld until 24 hours after next of kin has been notified.
The U.S. Navy medical teams are currently performing two checks daily on the isolated sailors who were removed from the warship after testing positive for COVID-19. During one of the daily checks, the deceased sailor was found unresponsive; CPR was performed. The sailor was then moved to the U.S. Naval Hospital Guam Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for further treatment.
Former Captain Brett Crozier’s haunting statement from his leaked memo rings loudly after the death of the sailor: “The virus will certainly have an impact, but in combat we are willing to take certain risks that are not acceptable in peacetime. However, we are not at war, and therefore cannot allow a single Sailor to perish as a result.”
According to the Navy, “As of today, 92% of USS Theodore Roosevelt crewmembers have been tested for COVID-19, with 585 positive and 3,921 negative results. 4,021 Sailors have moved ashore.”
The sailor’s death follows a series of controversial events, which began when Crozier was relieved of duty after his memo to U.S. Navy officials was leaked to the media. After Crozier’s departure, then-acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly berated the former captain in an address to the crew of the USS Roosevelt. The Roosevelt’s sailors, U.S. military top leadership, and congressional leaders heavily criticized Modly’s statements. Modly resigned from his position shortly after issuing a public apology.
Crozier has since tested positive for COVID-19.
“The entire DoD is deeply saddened by the loss of our first AD member to COVID,” Secretary of Defense Mark Esper tweeted today. “Our thoughts are w the family of the sailor who lost his battle w the virus today. We remain committed to protecting our personnel & their families while continuing to assist in defeating this outbreak.”
Joshua Skovlund has covered the 75th anniversary of D-Day in France, multinational military exercises in Germany, and civil unrest during the 2020 riots in Minneapolis that followed the death of George Floyd. Born and raised in small-town South Dakota, he grew up playing football and soccer before serving as a forward observer in the US Army. After leaving the service, he earned his CrossFit Level 1 certificate and worked as a personal trainer while earning his paramedic license. He went on to work in paramedicine for more than five years, much of that time in the North Minneapolis area, before transitioning to a career in multimedia journalism. Joshua is married with two children. His creative outlets include Skovlund Photography and Concentrated Emotion, where he publishes poetry focused on his life experiences.
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