US keeps Aircraft Carrier at Sea to Shield it from Coronavirus & Keep it Ready for Action if Needed

USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier
USS Harry S. Truman transits the Atlantic Ocean, December 12, 2018. (Mass Communication Specialist Second Class Scott Swofford/US Navy)

With the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt effectively out of commission in Guam and a handful of COVID-19 cases reported among crew members of two other carriers currently in port, the USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan, the Navy is keeping an as yet uninfected carrier at sea off the east coast of the United States on standby for further assignment.

The USS Harry S. Truman and its attendant ships have been designated the “certified carrier strike group force ready for tasking” for at least the next three weeks instead of returning to their home port of Norfolk, Virginia, at the end of a scheduled deployment to the Mediterranean and Persian Gulf region.

“The ship is entering a period in which it needs to be ready to respond and deploy at any time,” said Vice Adm. Andrew Lewis, commander of the U.S. 2nd Fleet. “Normally, we can do that pierside, but in the face of COVID-19, we need to protect our most valuable asset, our people, by keeping the ship out to sea.”

“The demand for naval assets remains high,” said the Navy in a news release. “The Navy is taking this measure to maintain the strike group’s warfighting capability while ensuring the safety of the crew.”