According to a report on Naval Times on January 29, sailors of the U.S. Navy destroyer “Chaffee” (DDG-90) carrying out “Advanced Tactical Training in Surface Warfare” (SWATT) around San Diego recently anonymously revealed to the U.S. media that the novel coronavirus outbreak had broken out on board.
According to the informants, despite some isolation measures, the ship has not been tested for nucleic acid.
In addition, many crew members can only reuse increasingly dirty N95 masks.
And because the ship’s kitchen was closed, it was difficult for the crew to have a hot meal.
The new sailors said bluntly: “I can’t tell the difference between the navy and prison.” U.S. media said: “It looks like the crew is being destroyed by the epidemic.”
According to U.S. media reports, although Sean Robertson, spokesman of the U.S. Navy’s Third Fleet, confirmed on Wednesday local time that some crew members of the Chaffee did test positive for the coronavirus, Robertson refused to disclose the exact number of confirmed patients on the grounds of “Pentagon policy”.
He also said that no crew members need to be sent to hospitalized at present, and all crew members who tested positive have been quarantined, and that “the warship can still carry out its mission”.
However, according to some internal documents obtained by the U.S. media and information provided by the ship’s two non-commissioned officers, in recent days, at least 41 of the ship’s about 350 crew members have been quarantined because they tested positive or had close contact with them, and 11 of them were cooks.
A non-commissioned officer who asked for anonymity for fear of reprisals pointed out that several cooks on board had tested positive for the coronavirus as early as the ship was on her way from Hawaii to San Diego, and these people had contact with almost all the ship’s sailors, so the ship’s kitchen had been closed for about a week.
Another staff sergeant anonymous for the same reason said that although the official did not release accurate information about the epidemic on board, he knew that the ship’s intelligence technology department, weapons department and engineering department had confirmed cases at that time.
The crew generally questioned why the whole ship’s coronavirus test was not organized?
According to the U.S. media, according to the schedule taken by the crew, on Saturday, on the morning of the arrival of Chaffey in San Diego, the whole crew was arranged for a full coronavirus test, but some crew said that many people were not tested that day.
On Thursday local time, Robertson, spokesman of the Third Fleet, also said in response to the incident, “Some of the personnel have indeed been tested, but there are no plans to test all the crew at present.” Robertson did not reply to whether the supposedly long-long-scale coronavirus test was cancelled and why it was cancelled.
A Navy sergeant told the media that many crew members believed that they had simply cancelled the full-staff test at all because the top of the navy only care about “surface warfare advanced tactical training” (SWATT) and they did not want to deal with the epidemic at all.
According to the U.S. media, in addition to the lack of testing, the personal protection of sailors on board is also a huge problem.
Several non-commissioned officers told the media that the ship’s masks were in short supply, and many crew members could not apply for new masks, so they had to wear the same dirty N95 mask repeatedly for several days.
Crews have difficulty breathing at work, and have to wear masks as required when resting. The space inside the destroyer is limited, and it is difficult for the crew to really implement the “limiting close contact” rule.
In response, Robertson, spokesman for the Third Fleet, countered that the ship “has sufficient personal protective equipment and will continue to provide protective measures for its crew.”
According to U.S. media reports, due to the diagnosis of cooks and the closure of the kitchen, the quality of food provided by the ship to the crew was also unqualified, and many crew members began to order takeout on the ship.
Some crew complained that the food sent to the ship was basically cold, and the meal was never allowed.
In response, Robertson, spokesman for the Third Fleet, retorted that food was delivered to the ship through the base kitchen and that “the food supply was not interrupted”.
According to U.S. media reports, in addition to coronavirus testing, personal protection problems and eating problems, the morale of the officers and soldiers on the “Chaffey” ship is also very low, on the one hand, in terms of basic living conditions: the gym is closed, the crew cannot go to the dock, and the smoking area is said to be closed.
Some non-commissioned officers directly said that the crew felt that no one was supporting them, and even a new crew asked him, what’s the difference between such a U.S. Navy and a prison? And he was too confused to answer.
On the other hand, the officers on board also believe that such terrible living conditions will affect the mental state and future service of the young crew. Ordinary soldiers are panicked by the epidemic, and the officers do not know how to respond and appease them.
Some officers said bluntly that those senior officers who had never boarded the ship made policies and ordered lower officers to carry them out, for fear of being fired, and these junior officers did not have the courage to stand up and tell what was going on the superior warship.
Some officers said that only they were front-line officers who understood that the coronavirus epidemic was a threat that must be dealt with, but the leadership of the United States Navy was actually killing the motivation for U.S. Navy officers and soldiers to stay in the army. It is said that some officers on board are already considering retirement.