The USS Theodore Roosevelt is under attack by the China virus and their CO is asking that the ship be evacuated leaving 400 or so sailors to monitor the nuclear reactors and be available for damage control efforts should they be needed. The ship is currently in Guam.
I think back to Hunt for Red October where Jack Ryan realizes that Captain Ramius has already figured out how to get the crew off the submarine so that Ramius can defect. That reason turns out to be a fake failure of the nuclear reactors and fake contamination of the ship.
Note to bad actors of the world: If you would like your very own nuclear powered aircraft carrier, start a virus infection, wait for the ship to be evacuated, and then send a force of a few hundred men to take over the ship. Most of the people left on board will be engineers and maintenance people. BYO contamination suits.
Do I believe the Chinese have literally attacked the world with a biological weapon? No, I don’t. However, they’re no doubt using the opportunity to witness what would happen if they did.
The Navy has done extensive preparation for biological attacks over the years and somehow “get everyone off the freaking ship!” is not what I would have expected. I find this very, very troubling when what I would have expected is the orderly implementation of a well thought out plan.
The ship’s CO, Captain Crozier, wrote:
A clean ship is required. Every sailor onboard must be guaranteed virus-free and the ship environment must be disinfected. One infected sailor introduced to the ship will spread the virus. Off ship lodging in compliance with CDC and [Navy] guidance is required for over 4,000 sailors to achieve a clean ship and crew.
I do not at all understand why the Navy did not foresee this exact situation. I really don’t. I also don’t understand what CDC guidance has to do with the operation of an aircraft carrier. I really don’t.
If it was China’s intention to render the U.S. Navy impotent, they have succeeded and know exactly how to do it in the future.
If this was a shooting war, would the Roosevelt respond? I’m certain it would. On the other hand, how would its capabilities be diminished? For instance, does it make sense to put sick sailors back on the ship? Probably not but on the other hand, as these young men recover, they’re going to need to be available to replace men who are now sick.
With the exceptions of a handful of senior officer staterooms, none of the berthing onboard a warship is appropriate for quarantine or isolation.
This is frightening. Again, how exactly did the Navy intend to operate in the presence of a biological attack if there are no means for quarantine or isolation? I’m not going to pretend I know the answer to this but someone since Hunt for Red October debuted in 1990 should have given this exact situation at least some thought!
When this is all said and done, heads need to roll in the Navy over this. In the meantime, the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt needs to put to sea and they need to figure this out. After all, our military needs to be 100% operations ready in a biological attack regardless of whether it was malicious or not. Period.