The Navy Is Blaming the Captain It Fired for Accurate COVID-19 Warning
Navy Capt. Brett Crozier was confirmed after warning of a terrible coronavirus outbreak aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt - except for the Navy, which announced on Friday that it was Crozier's shot for violating an attempt to kill his seafarers' lives save, will not undo.
Instead, the leadership of the Navy implied that Crozier was responsible for the outbreak, which he loudly warned that he urgently needed help from the Navy to remedy the situation.
"If Captain Crozier were still in command today, I would take over," said Adm Chief of Naval Operations. Mike Gilday, on Friday. Less than two months ago, Gilday recommended that Crozier be reinstated.
A final report released on Friday about Crozier's dismissal accused the Roosevelt commander and his team of "being biased by groupthink, emotions, and losing perspective on actual risk" - as well as an inadequate assessment of how the fleet commander worked tirelessly to evacuate the ship to support what Crozier had questioned.
The report, prepared by Gilday's deputy, Adm. Robert Burke, authored the extraordinary claim that Crozier's team "did little to nothing within their own control span to improve the safety of the crew."
The Navy released Crozier after its request to the Navy on March 30 to evacuate the carrier's crew for treatment became public. Crozier had implicitly questioned the Pentagon's approach to the pandemic, which consisted of continuing as much military activity as possible to maintain readiness. "Seafarers don't have to die," Crozier warned in a letter reported by the San Francisco Chronicle.
The acting secretary of the Navy resigns after calling Captain Crozier "stupid".
It was a debacle for the Navy. An initial outbreak that affected around 100 seafarers among the 4,000-strong crew eventually rose to 1,273 - including Crozier himself. But acting marine secretary Thomas Modly accused Crozier of being "too naive or too stupid" to believe that his letter would not be published and even flew to Guam to warn the conquered captain of a disgusted crew. Within a few days, Modly resigned from his comments amidst public outrage. A sailor aboard the Roosevelt, Charles Robert Thacker Jr., chief petty officer of Aviation Ordnanceman, died of COVID-19.
An internal Navy investigation, completed in late April, recommended Crozier's reinstatement. When Secretary of Defense Mark Esper was informed, Esper decided to wait until he received a written copy before meeting with the Navy leadership to discuss the next steps, Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Rath Hoffman said on April. 24th
On Friday afternoon, after a broader investigation, Gilday and Modly's successor, Navy Secretary Kenneth J. Braithwaite, implied in various ways that Crozier had fallen into his own responsibility to help the crew - and even painted him in his response as lethargic.
Referring to a subsequent investigation, Gilday said Crozier "should have been more critical" than the Roosevelt concerned entered Guam, particularly when evacuating seafarers into spaces the Navy wrestled ashore. Crozier was alarmed by the insufficient distance between the beds and pushed for individual hotel rooms for the 4,000-strong crew. The report found that Crozier saw the temporary berthing on Guam as "worse than the ship." Gilday said that Crozier apparently did not know that negotiations with the Guam authorities on the rooms were ongoing at the time of his letter.
However, Gilday also admitted that Crozier's answer, as Crozier's superior with the Navy's Pacific Fleet, Adm. John Aquilino, the captain asked what else he needed to "move faster in the hotels". Gilday, who insisted that "these wheels were in motion," said Crozier did not prioritize "safety over comfort," which resulted in Crozier's "near paralysis" - in short, the same offenses that Crozier had in the Navy had raised.
"I was not impressed by the slow disembarkation, the lack of a plan, and the command of the Seventh Fleet to ask for a plan that he received on the day that Crozier was relieved," said Gilday. This commander, counter-administrator Stuart Baker, will not be promoted until further investigation is undertaken.
When asked how the Navy investigation could be reconciled with the urgency of Crozier's March 30 letter, Gilday said he had no "good answer." Still, he evaded the answer as to whether the new investigation included an interview with Crozier. The footnotes in the report refer to a “statement” that Crozier gave to the May 15 investigation.
But Gilday said Crozier wasn't punished for his email, the reason Modly fired him. The naval chief also said Crozier "did a lot of things right".
In addition to Crozier and Baker, Gilday said the airline's air wing commander and Roosevelt's medical offer would receive administrative reprisals. The report even seems to blame the crew for their famous farewell to the dismissed Crozier: the sailors "gathered and cheered and sang his name with only a small number of masks and without social distance".
In all of the Navy's investigations and re-investigations, Gilday also admitted that the Navy still does not know how the novel corona virus made it to the ship. He said it was "likely" that it happened during a previous port visit to Vietnam, although Gilday defended the port visit, saying that none of the officials responsible for this decision - all of whom are unlike Crozier Admirals - would be reprimanded.
In a statement, Hoffman said Esper "considers the investigation to be thorough and fair and supports the navy's decisions based on its results. We are proud of the crew of the USS Theodore Roosevelt and are pleased that they are back at sea in the western Pacific and project American power. "
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