USS Theodore Roosevelt sailor dies | First US active duty coronavirus death

A sailor assigned to the USS Theodore Roosevelt who was diagnosed with the coronavirus died Monday due to complications related to the disease.

The sailor, whose name and other identifying information were not publicly released pending notification of relatives, tested positive for coronavirus on March 30 and was taken off the ship and placed in “isolation housing” along with four other sailors at the U.S. Navy base on Guam.

On April 9 he was found unresponsive during a medical check and was moved to a local hospital's intensive care unit.


As of Sunday, 585 members of the Roosevelt crew had tested positive for coronavirus. Nearly 4,000 crew members had been moved ashore.

Last week, Pentagon officials reported at least 11 percent of the crew had tested positive for the virus.

Pentagon orders troops to wear masks

The USS Theodore Roosevelt has been the center of how the U.S. military bureaucracy is addressing the global coronavirus amid its ranks.

It first made news when its then-commander, Capt. Brett Crozier, sent an urgent but unclassified memo to his superiors that was later leaked to the press.

Crozier’s four-page letter to his superiors in Washington detailed the dire situation aboard the Roosevelt, which was docked with more than 4,000 sailors aboard and dozens of whom were infected with the virus.

In the communication, Crozier criticized Navy leadership for failing to provide the proper resources to combat an outbreak.

“We are not at war,” Crozier wrote. “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.”

Crozier was later fired from his command, and then-Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said Crozier was either “stupid” or “naive” for his actions.

After firing Crozier, Modly held a news conference about the matter and said the captain “demonstrated extremely poor judgment” in the middle of a crisis and created a panic by sending a non-secure email to people outside his chain of command.

The letter eventually found its way to the San Francisco Chronicle, which was the first to report the matter on Tuesday. From there the story quickly spread around the country.

Modly added that he had no information to suggest that Crozier leaked the memo, but said the captain should have gone directly to his immediate commanders, who were already planning to send assistance.

Modly came under intense criticism for his remarks, and within hours of his comments, made a public apology. However, under more pressure, Modly soon resigned his position.

Along with the Theodore Roosevelt, there are confirmed Coronavirus cases on two other U.S. Navy carriers — the USS Nimitz, and the USS Ronald Reagan.