Warship captains told the skipper of a COVID-stricken aircraft carrier he was 'doing what is right' just before the Navy fired him, emails show
Brett Crozier, then in command of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), speaks during an all-hands call in December 2019. US Navy
The U.S. Navy fired a carrier captain after writing a letter about a leaked coronavirus outbreak.
Following an investigation, the Navy stood by its decision to relieve Captain Brett Crozier from his command.
Emails show that other warship captains believed Crozier "did the right thing".
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Warship captains showed strong support for the commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, Capt.Brett Crozier, in emails sent shortly before his release from the Navy, Task & Purpose reported Friday.
A collection of 1,200 emails sent to and from Crozier's email between March 25, 2020 and April 2, 2020, received by Task & Purpose and reported by Jeff Schogol, shows that Crozier is not just the His crew had support when he was released from his command, but also the support of fellow skipper.
The Navy publicly admitted that a COVID-19 outbreak occurred on the USS Theodore Roosevelt on March 24, 2020, and revealed that three sailors had tested positive.
The number of coronavirus cases rose within days when the carrier was forced into the port of Guam.
The Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group will perform in formation on January 25, 2020. The Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group is on a planned deployment in the Indo-Pacific.
On March 30, medics aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt warned that if they were not evacuated immediately, sailors would die. On the same day, Crozier sent an urgent request to the chain of command to request the evacuation of the majority of the crew. "Seafarers don't have to die," he wrote.
"If there is ever time to seek help, now regardless of the impact on my career," wrote Crozier.
The letter, which was also sent to some Navy personnel outside the Crozier chain of command, was forwarded to The San Francisco Chronicle and published in full on March 31. On April 2, acting Secretary of the Navy, Thomas Modly, dismissed Crozier for "bad judgment". "" Modly resigned a week later after a series of missteps, including poor talking about the captain to his crew.
"I read your letter in the SF Chronicle yesterday," wrote Captain Matthew Paradise, commander of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, in an email to Crozier on April 1.
"I thought it was great and a textbook example of how to tell the truth to power and take care of your troops," he said.
Another email from Task & Purpose was from Captain Sean Bailey, then commanding officer of the USS George H.W. Bush.
"I know that with everything that is happening you are feeling an immense amount of heat and pressure from the outside, but you wanted to let it be known that the people who matter are still there to support you," the captain wrote in an E -Mail sent on April 1st.
"I admire your commitment to open communication with leadership and I am confident that the 'leak' in the SF Chronicle was someone else's misguided motivation," said Bailey. "I know you are doing the right thing to look after your sailors and your ship. Let me know if I can help you."
In an email dated March 31st to the Captain, Cmdr. Patrick Eliason, then the skipper of the destroyer USS The Sullivans, thanked Crozier for "having the courage" to write the letter that ultimately derailed his career.
After being relieved of his command, Crozier disembarked his ship, but he did so when his crew sang his name. Modly was upset by the videos of this farewell and then flew to Guam to speak to the crew. That trip would cost him an estimated $ 243,000 in labor and taxpayers.
After a preliminary investigation, naval leaders recommended the reinstatement of Crozier in late April, but changed their minds after further investigation.
"If I had known then what I know now, I would not have made this recommendation to reinstate Captain Crozier. If Captain Crozier were still in command today, I would also exonerate him," said Mike Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations Adm last June .
He argued that Crozier "fell far short of what we expect from commanders".
The Navy fought the outbreak aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt for months and eventually evacuated the majority of the crew as more than a thousand sailors tested positive for COVID-19. A number of seafarers were hospitalized by the virus and one seaman died.
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