Sailors carry the American flag and union jack to conduct morning colors on the flight deck of the San Diego-based aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt. Navy photo

The Navy announced Wednesday that it is extending its inquiry into the firing of Capt. Brett Crozier after his plea for help with a coronavirus outbreak on the USS Theodore Roosevelt.

Navy leaders had initially recommended that Crozier be reinstated, but Acting Secretary of the Navy James E. McPherson said he has “unanswered questions that the preliminary inquiry has identified” and decided a more extensive review is necessary.

“This investigation will build on the good work of the initial inquiry to provide a more fulsome understanding of the sequence of events, actions, and decisions of the chain of command surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt,” McPherson said in a statement.

Crozier, along with nearly 1,000 crew members, is recovering from the disease on Guam as the San Diego-based aircraft carrier prepares to return to sea.

The Navy said hundreds of sailors have begun the transition from quarantine in hotels off base back to the giant warship following a bow-to-stern deep-cleaning process.

Spaces on the ship were vacated for seven days — four days longer than the minimum recommended by the CDC — before being thoroughly disinfected. For spaces that were continuously operational, such as the nuclear reactor controls, sailors cleaned the area before leaving it, while the incoming sailors cleaned it immediately upon arrival.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.