WASHINGTON - The USS Theodore Roosevelt has left Guam and gone out to sea for training after nearly two months sidelined at the pier with a coronavirus outbreak.
The crew will do about two weeks of training to prepare to return to duty in the Pacific.
“It feels great to be back at sea,” said Rear Adm. Stu Baker, commander, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 9. “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.”
The ship has been docked in Guam since March 27, as the 4,800 crew members went through rotations of quarantine, and more than 1,000 of them have tested positive for the virus over that time.
Navy Capt. Carlos Sardiello says the ship will sail with a scaled-back crew of about 3,000.
“We are scaling our manning on board based on our mission requirement,” said Capt. Carlos Sardiello, 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.”
In addition to social distancing, Sailors will execute Navy COVID prevention and mitigation policies, including all required lessons learned from a safety stand down last week and a simulated underway earlier this week. During the simulated underway, the crew walked through routine and emergency procedures while executing COVID-19 mitigation measures, including wearing masks, medical surveillance of 100% of the crew, adjusted meal hours, minimizing in-person meetings, sanitizing spaces and a simulated medevac.
“It was an unprecedented challenge to get to this point and I’m proud of the Rough Rider Team’s tenacity and resiliency in the face of uncertainty,” said Sardiello. “We are extremely thankful for the dedicated support and hospitality of Gov. Leon Guerrero, her staff and the people Guam. They have been steadfast and proactive partners throughout. We are also thankful for the efforts of our fellow service members on Guam for their resolute support. We owe them all a debt of gratitude that words cannot express.”