Sailors from the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt may be isolated in quarantine on Guam, but that hasn’t prevented them from expressing gratitude to the Marines and staff tasked with assisting the nearly-4,200 personnel who have been evacuated from the ship.
A video shared by the Facebook page of the Navy’s Commander Task Force 75 highlighted a recent swarm of letters sailors have left outside their hotel doors for the Marines of 3rd Law Enforcement Battalion, III Marine Expeditionary Force Information Group.
“My Marines started making sure that all the sailors here receive everything that they need,” Capt. Vicente Huerta said in the video, which was first spotted by Just the News.
“And as the sailors started seeing that, we just started getting flooded with a bunch of letters, them showing their appreciation. Quotes that they had given to us. ... It just meant a lot to us.”
But the show of solidarity didn’t stop there.
Roosevelt sailors quarantined in one hotel coordinated a group cheer from each of the sailors’ respective balconies.
“They all came out on their balconies and just started cheering loudly,” Huerta said. “I started getting goosebumps and I was like, OK, this is a different type of deployment.”
In response, Huerta told sailors in the video, "Showing your appreciation for what we’re doing for you has been probably the most gratifying thing that I’ve done so far in the Marine Corps.”
Watch the video below.
As of Wednesday, 777 Roosevelt sailors have tested positive for COVID-19. Personnel from U.S. Naval Hospital Guam, where the ship has been ported since March 27, have tested 99 percent of the total crew. Six sailors are currently hospitalized.
Chief Aviation Ordnanceman Charles Robert Thacker, Jr., 41, died April 13 at U.S. Naval Hospital Guam due to COVID-19 complications.
Thacker was moved to the ICU on April 9 after being found unresponsive by other quarantined sailors. He is the first Theodore Roosevelt sailor to succumb to the virus.
Navy officials would not specify whether Thacker had any preexisting medical conditions that made him more susceptible to the virus.
J.D. Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times, and a USMC veteran.