The sailor, assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 146, the Blue Diamonds, out of Naval Air Station Lemoore, California, first received “immediate medical care” onboard the carrier before being taken in an MH-60S Seahawk attached to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 8 to a military medical treatment facility ashore.
The carrier has been operating in the Eastern Pacific, and was in the vicinity of Pearl Harbor as of June 2, according to a release from U.S. 3rd Fleet.
The sailor was declared dead around 5 a.m. local time. It remains unclear what the nature of the medical emergency was or if it was in any way related to a large outbreak of COVID-19 aboard the carrier earlier in its deployment that left more than 1,200 sailors sick and one dead.
“The Sailor, like all personnel embarked aboard Theodore Roosevelt, had been tested for COVID-19 multiple times during the outbreak of the virus aboard the ship earlier this year and those results were consistently negative for COVID-19 throughout the entire deployment,” officials said in a release.
The identity of the sailor was withheld pending next-of-kin notification.
The carrier deployed in late January from its San Diego homeport for a routine deployment in the Indo-Pacific.
In late March, after a port stop in Da Nang, Vietnam, sailors began to test positive for COVID-19, despite efforts to quarantine and sanitize aboard the carrier. Ultimately, the Roosevelt was forced to stop over in Guam to address the growing outbreak. In a complex controversy over a plea for help from carrier commanding officer Capt. Brett Crozier that became public and the blowback that followed, Crozier would be fired and acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly would resign.
The carrier did not depart Guam to complete the remainder of its deployment until June 4. Since then it has been transiting through the Pacific, and in late June, it met up with the carrier Nimitz Strike Group in the Philippine Sea to complete dual-carrier flight operations.
A chaplain team and medical psychologist are assisting the crew following the sailor’s death, officials said.
— Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.
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