SAN DIEGO, Calif. (KGPE) – The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt returned to San Diego Thursday morning after nearly six months at sea and months of fighting a coronavirus outbreak on the ship.
“It was a somber feeling seeing that we didn’t have our families out here after we’d been gone for so long,” Air Traffic Controller First Class, Daniel Adam Wright said during a press conference Thursday.
They didn’t have the usual homecoming as families had to wait in the cars — but they’re finally home.
The virus infected more than 1,000 sailors. The carrier was forced to dock at the naval base in Guam in March. Much of the crew had to disembark while some stayed on board to sanitize the ship and guard sensitive areas.
More than three months later, the ship returned to San Diego — 750 of those on board are stationed at Naval Air Station Lemoore.
“We returned to San Diego this morning with zero cases of COVID among the crew, embarked air wing and the staffs,” said USS Theodore Roosevelt Commanding Officer Capt. Carlos Sardiello.
The outbreak became the focus of national outrage after Capt. Brett Crozier was relieved of his command after a letter he sent to naval command pleading for help for his crew was leaked.
A video shows when sailors on board cheered and applauded him as he left the USS Theodore Roosevelt for the final time.
Former U.S. Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly resigned after receiving backlash for criticizing Capt. Crozier’s actions.
USS Theodore Roosevelt Commanding Officer Capt. Carlos Sardiello didn’t comment on the situation with Capt. Crozier but said that he’s a friend.
When Wright was asked about what he would say to Capt Crozier, he said this:
“Sir, if I could say anything to you, it would be: Thank you. Thank you for noticing a problem on board the ship and a problem that was affecting your crew and thank you for taking the actions necessary to get us the assistance required,” Wright said.