The visit to Vietnam in early March was intended as a historic milestone and a symbol of far-reaching U.S. aims in the Pacific, marking 25 years of diplomatic relations with a rare port call by an American aircraft carrier that had been months in the planning.

But as the USS Theodore Roosevelt headed back out to sea, sailors and officers realized they faced danger aboard the ship. Crew members soon began suffering from an outbreak of Covid-19 that spread rapidly, plunging the Roosevelt and the Navy into a crisis that now holds…

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