Okay, I've been researching this story in between patients. I've found out a few pertinent facts.
1. Much of the wording of the story being circulated now as if it is current news (starting on September 24th) was stolen verbatim from a true CBS news story dated July 21st. The base true story was radically altered, with dramatic fictional elements added, and "rebranded" to make it appear it's happening now. It isn't.
2. Regarding the allegedly "dead" officers, given as simply "the captain and the master chief petty officer" -- Captain Mark L. Cedrun and Command Master Chief Petty Officer Ray Burrhus are both alive and well and occupy their posts, which they've occupied for over a year. NO change of command was recorded on the military websites (even though I found every other changeover going back 5 years) or on the USS Boxer's homepage, where Captain Cedrun is clearly listed as STILL in command (pretty good for a corpse, wouldn't you say?). There were NO death or funeral stories anywhere on the web (other than Ott, et. al's garbage story). One website I visited even had a comment from a sailor stating that the stories were fabricated and that, while a bunch of people got sick with flu in July (something we knew), everyone recovered and nobody died. He called the story BS. I was able to verify the sailor is who he claims to be. Captain Cedrun and the Master Chief would probably be quite shocked to find out that some vaccination conspiracy wingnuts are spreading rumors that they died of swine flu.
3. The Timeline: Was the ship ever under a 60-day at-sea quarantine? Answer: NO!June 25th
: Phuket, Thailand -- ship put into port. Some marines from the ship got in trouble with the law over a jet ski incident, thus establishing a paper trail. Many sailors and marines partook of shore leave.July 17th
: Ship puts into port at Pearl Harbor. During ocean transit from Thailand, 69 crew members out of almost 3,000 became ill with the flu. The sick crew members are kept on board ship and tested for H1N1 with positive results. Their cases were reported in the news by CBS and on military and flu surveillance sites, ours included. Healthy crew members disembarking for shore leave were screened with thermography equipment. Many crew members wandered around Waikiki and Honolulu for beach parties, shopping, and fun.
Boxer's Morale Welfare and Recreation Department arranged numerous tours and activities for the crew, including a snorkeling trip and a hike up one of Oahu's most recognized landmarks, Diamond Head State Monument. The crew also enjoyed shopping for gifts and the scenic beauty of the islands.http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=47043
: Boxer departed Oahu bound for the West Coast. July 30th
: Boxer stopped at Camp Pendleton to disembark the Marines of the 13th MEU. A party was held to welcome the Marines home after 7 months duty. August 5th
: Boxer arrived at its home port in San Diego for furlough after being deployed since January (San Diego is where it has been ever since). USS Boxer (Pier 13), USS New Orleans (Pier 10), USS Comstock (Pier 6). Note the date it arrived in San Diego...It isn't today, as the story claimed. Video of the welcome home, showing the ship arriving, sailors coming down the ramp, kissing their family members, etc. was published in several spots on the web. Quite a few news stories about it.August 12th
: The allegedly dead captain of the ship took part in a bike race/rally in San Diego. Looked very healthy for a dead man!
It's pretty clear from the above DOCUMENTED events that there was never a 60-day, at-sea, ship-wide quarantine, nor did the Captain and Command Master Chief Petty Officer die of swine flu while at sea, nor did the ship arrive back in San Diego today, all as alleged by the now thoroughly debunked story.
(If anyone would like links to verify each of the statements made above, I'll be happy to provide them. I have about two pages worth.