The U.S. Navy has fired the captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt.
Captain Brett Crozier wrote a pleading letter to Navy leaders earlier this week in which he said the force was not doing enough to help the sailors aboard the coronavirus-infected carrier.
Thomas Modly, U.S. Navy Acting Secretary, said: “I did not come to this decision lightly. I have no doubt in my mind that Captain Crozier did what he thought was in the best interests of the safety and well-being of his crew. Unfortunately, it did the opposite.”
Modly did not mince words when he said that Captain Crozier showed a complete “lapse in judgment.”
“I could reach no other conclusion than that Captain Crozier had allowed the complexity of his challenge with COVID breakout on the ship to overwhelm his ability to act professionally when acting professionally was what was needed most,” Modly said.
What it seems to have basically come down to, is Crozier copied too many people on the letter he emailed out.
The ship’s captain had sent the letter to 20-something U.S. Naval leaders and somehow it got leaked to media.
“What I will say, he sent it out pretty broadly and in sending it out pretty broadly, he did not take care to ensure that it couldn’t be leaked. And that’s part of his responsibility in my opinion,” Modly said.
Modly says ultimately protocols weren’t followed and the letter ignited undue panic.
“It unnecessarily raised alarms with the families of our Sailors and Marines with no plan to address those concerns. It raised concerns about the operational capabilities and operational security of the ship that could have emboldened our adversaries to seek advantage, and it undermined the chain of command who had been moving and adjusting as rapidly as possible to get him the help he needed,” Modly said,
And according to the Navy Secretary, that letter, published worldwide, undermined the Navy’s already ongoing plans for the USS Theodore Roosevelt.
“Just to give you an example…when the ship got there, we didn’t have any beds to take people off to. A week later, we have almost 3000 places for these sailors to go. That’s in a week. That’s not because of this letter, it’s because of stuff that was going on well before the letter was sent,” Modly said.
In his speech today, Modly reassured sailors on the Roosevelt that the Navy is “on it” and they will be taken care of completely.
He acknowledged that Crozier likely sent the powerful letter out of his love and respect for his sailors on board but ultimately, Modly says it was a poor decision.