News & Politics

Commander of Aircraft Carrier Who Called for Help With Virus Outbreak Is Fired

The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson is pictured about 60 kilometers south of Tsushima Island in Japan's Nagasaki Prefecture in this photo taken from a Kyodo News airplane on April 29, 2017. (Kyodo via Getty Images)

The commander of the USS Roosevelt aircraft carrier whose memo pleading for help with a coronavirus outbreak on his ship was widely publicized, was fired by the Navy yesterday.

Captain Brent Crozier was relieved of duty for showing “poor judgment” in disseminating the memo to too many people, acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly said during a Pentagon press briefing.

CNN:

“Today at my direction the commanding officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, Captain Brett Crozier, was relieved of command by carrier strike group commander Rear Admiral Stewart Baker,” Modly said during a Pentagon press briefing.

Modly told reporters that Crozier was removed for showing “extremely poor judgment” and creating a “firestorm” by too widely disseminating the memo detailing his concerns, copying some 20 to 30 people.

He said Crozier was not removed because of any evidence suggesting he leaked the memo to the press, but rather for allowing “the complexity of his challenge with the Covid breakout on the ship to overwhelm his ability to act professionally when acting professionally was what was needed the most at the time.”

Is the acting secretary of the Navy saying he fired one of his top commanders because he panicked? Looks that way.

“I have no information nor am I trying to suggest that he leaked the information. It was published in the San Francisco Chronicle. It all came as a big surprise to all of us that it was in the paper, and that’s the first time I had seen it,” he added.

The information in question was contained in a memo written by Crozier earlier this week to the Navy’s Pacific Fleet.

Modly called Crozier’s note “a blast-out email to everyone he knows.”

“We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die. If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset — our Sailors,” it read, three US defense officials confirmed to CNN.

Apparently, Cozier sent the message out on an unsecured channel, which is pretty dumb if you think about it. Telling a potential enemy your ship is crippled is not an advantage in battle.

Do you think Democrats are going to try to politicize this move? House Armed Services Committee Democrats agreed with everything Modly is saying Crozier should have been fired for, but blasted the move nonetheless.

“While Captain Crozier clearly went outside the chain of command, his dismissal at this critical moment — as the Sailors aboard the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt are confronted with the COVID-19 pandemic — is a destabilizing move that will likely put our service members at greater risk and jeopardize our fleet’s readiness,” they said.

“The COVID pandemic presents a set of new challenges and there is much we still do not know. Captain Crozier was justifiably concerned about the health and safety of his crew, but he did not handle the immense pressure appropriately. However, relieving him of his command is an overreaction,” the lawmakers added.

An “overreaction”? I think relieving him in the midst of a crisis is an arguable point, but the Navy is hardly overreacting. If Crozier can’t emotionally handle a virus outbreak on his ship, what’s he going to do if he goes to war with the Chicoms? The Navy’s attitude is why take a chance?