Gen Mark Milley: “Don’t Test Us. It Would Be A Terrible, Tragic Mistake”
A few days ago, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, made the statement that any country seeking to test us during this coronavirus pandemic would be making a “terrible, tragic mistake.” Was China listening? Over the weekend, the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning and 5 warships sailed through the Miyako Strait and past Taiwan.
The USS America is a smaller amphibious assault ship and is currently in the East China Sea. It carries F-35B Lightning II stealth fighters. But China shouldn’t get too cocky with their thinking about now.
According to Stars and Stripes,
About 4 p.m. Saturday, the carrier and its group steamed through the strait, according to the official. Some Japanese government spokespersons traditionally speak under the condition of anonymity.
“We continuously checked those ships by the sea and air,” the official said.
The Taiwanese navy also sent ships from Suao to monitor the strike group as it passed the island on Sunday, according to the South China Morning Post, which cited the Taiwan Ministry of Defense.
The six vessels sailed east of Taiwan, according to the Japanese outlet Sankei News, which also cited the Taiwan defense ministry.
The USS Theodore Roosevelt is at port in Guam and being disinfected from an outbreak of coronavirus. As of this writing, 4,309 Roosevelt crew members had been tested for the virus, of which 585 came back positive. One crew member has died after being found unresponsive. There were 400 sailors left to be tested as of Sunday.
The USS Ronald Reagan and its task force is being readied for deployment from Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan. Crew members are in isolation and will be tested before being allowed to deploy to make sure they are healthy.
Several US vessels, the USS Barry, USS Mustin, USS McCampbell and guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam have all escaped COVID-19 so far because they stayed at sea and did not go to port. The USS Nimitz, still docked in Bremerton, Washington, is having its crew isolated in preparation for deployment. The USS Eisenhower is currently deployed to the Middle East.
The Navy also announced that an aircraft carrier strike group led by the USS Harry S. Truman, which had been heading home to Norfolk, Virginia from a monthslong deployment in the Middle East, will instead be kept in the Atlantic for now as a way to protect the ship’s crew from coronavirus.
“The Navy is taking this measure to maintain the strike group’s warfighting capability while ensuring the safety of the crew,” the Navy said in a statement. There are no known coronavirus cases aboard the Truman or the other ships in its strike group.
The Navy said it will evaluate “this dynamic situation” and will provide an update to the crew of the Truman and their families in approximately three weeks.
To put it bluntly, the US still has many capabilities worldwide, and both China and Russia should pay attention. There are 2.3 million American troops in total, including National Guard and Reservists. And enough ships to make a huge dent in the Chinese carrier Liaoning.
“The U.S. military is very, very capable to conduct whatever operations are necessary to defend the American people. We will adapt ourselves to operating in a COVID-19 environment. We are already doing that.” Gen Mark Milley
Featured photo: General Mark Milley, Department of Defense, Lisa Ferdinando