PortandTerminal.com, April 17, 2020
WASHINGTON – America’s aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) is currently docked in Guam after hundreds of its sailors on board came down with COVID-19. So far, more than 600 have tested positive for COVID-19, and one crew member, a 41-year-old chief petty officer, has died. Five others are hospitalized, with another crew member admitted to the intensive care unit of the U.S. Naval Hospital in Guam on Tuesday.
On France’s flagship carrier, the Charles de Gaulle, a third of the sailors – 668 out of nearly 2,000 – are infected with COVID-19. The infection total will almost certainly rise, as 30% of test results are still not yet in. The carrier was forced to return to the French port of Toulon early from Atlantic exercises as a result of the illnesses on board.
The USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) cost approximately $4.5 billion to build. On it are some of the most advanced weapons and fighter jets in the world. And anywhere the Theodore Roosevelt goes, it travels with a Carrier Strike Group of other vessels, sailors and weapons.
Both the French and American carriers were brought down by a virus reportedly dredged up from the muck of some wet market in Wuhan, China for the price of a bowl of bat-soup. Not a single shot was fired.
Is this the Navy’s 9/11 Moment?
The 9/11 attacks on America taught us that, in the hands of terrorists, commercial airplanes can be weaponized to deadly effect.
In the same way, we are learning now that an unseen virus on board our warships can compromise their ability to defend and project American influence globally. The lesson will not be lost on our enemies whether they be other countries or terrorist groups.
Just this past weekend, the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning, which is one of the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s two aircraft carriers, sailed past Taiwan in a show of Chinese naval strength in the region as the American aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) remains in port in Guam as its crew continues to address a breakout of coronavirus
Once the dust settles on the COVID-19 pandemic expect to see a lot more focus put on the rapid development of unmanned warships. As millions of us also said on 9/11, “This changes everything”.
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