A sailor assigned to the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt died after being admitted to an intensive care unit in Guam last week for coronavirus complications — the first such death of a sailor from the vessel.
The individual’s name is being withheld until 24 hours after next-of-kin notification. The sailor was admitted to the ICU at U.S. Naval Hospital Guam on Thursday and died Monday, according to the Navy.
The sailor tested for COVID-19 on March 30 and was removed from the ship and placed in isolation with four other service members.
The deceased sailor was found unresponsive at 8:30 a.m. during one of the two medical checks conducted daily for those in isolation.
“While Naval Base Guam emergency responders were notified, CPR was administered by fellow sailors and onsite medical team in the house,” a statement from the Navy chief of information office reads. “The sailor was transferred to U.S. Naval Hospital Guam where the sailor was moved to the intensive care unit.”
The Roosevelt has been in Guam since March 27. The vessel’s commander, Capt. Brett Crozier, was relieved following the leak of a four-page letter he penned imploring the Navy to remove the majority of the Roosevelt’s crew and provide individualized isolation for them ashore in Guam to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Though a small portion of the crew had been removed from the ship and placed into group quarantine sites, only one of the locations complied with Navy guidance, according to the letter. Crozier asked to remove all but about 10 percent of the crew, who would remain to operate the reactor plant and perform sanitization.
“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,” Crozier wrote in the letter.
As of Sunday, 92 percent of Roosevelt’s 4,800 crew members have been tested for COVID-19. There have been 585 positive results. More than 3,900 sailors have since been moved ashore and entered 14-day isolations in hotels and other rooms across Guam, according to the Navy.
“We mourn the loss of the Sailor from USS Theodore Roosevelt who died today, and we stand alongside their family, loved ones, and shipmates as they grieve,” Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday said.
“This is a great loss for the ship and for our Navy. My deepest sympathy goes out the family, and we pledge our full support to the ship and crew as they continue their fight against the coronavirus. While our ships, submarines and aircraft are made of steel, Sailors are the real strength of our Navy.”
The sailor who died Monday is the second U.S. service member to succumb to COVID-19.
The first was Army Capt. Douglas Linn Hickok, a 57-year-old physician assistant in the New Jersey National Guard who was hospitalized March 21 after testing positive for COVID-19.
A week later, he succumbed to the respiratory disease at a Pennsylvania hospital. Hickok, however, was not on active duty orders at the time of his death and had not yet been mobilized during the pandemic.
This is a developing story. Stay with Navy Times for updates.
Kyle Rempfer is an editor and reporter whose investigations have covered combat operations, criminal cases, foreign military assistance and training accidents. Before entering journalism, Kyle served in U.S. Air Force Special Tactics and deployed in 2014 to Paktika Province, Afghanistan, and Baghdad, Iraq.