Acting Navy Boss Quits Amid Uproar Over Coronavirus Controversy

April 8, 2020 by Dan McCue
FILE - In this Dec. 3, 2019, file photo, acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly testifies during a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee about about ongoing reports of substandard housing conditions in Washington, on Capitol Hill. Modly says the captain of the COVID-stricken aircraft carrier who was fired last week had betrayed his service and may have been “too naive or too stupid” to be commanding officer of the ship. Officials are confirming that Modly made the comments Sunday, April 5, 2020, to the ship's crew in Guam. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

WASHINGTON – Bowing to increasing pressure, acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly resigned Tuesday, following his profanity-laced tirade against the fired captain of the coronavirus-stricken USS Theodore Roosevelt.

Modly’s abrupt exit came shortly after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined the mounting chorus calling for his firing, citing his poor handling of the coronavirus-related public health crisis aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier.

“Sadly, Acting Secretary Modly’s actions and words demonstrate his failure to prioritize the protection of our troops,” the Speaker said. “He showed a serious lack of the sound judgment and strong leadership needed during this time.”

In light of this, she said Modly “must be removed from his position or resign.”

Modly had apologized late Monday for profanity-laced comments he made to the aircraft carrier’s crew in Guam days after firing the ship’s commanding officer, Capt. Brett Crozier.

But Modly’s apology did little to dampen the firestorm he created.

During his remarks, Modly said Crozier was either an idiot or naive and deserved to be fired for writing a letter that was destined to leak.

Crozier had expressed alarm about the service’s mishandling of the health crisis aboard the vessel in a March 30 letter to Navy higher-ups that subsequently leaked to the media.

On Tuesday, Pelosi defended Crozier, saying he was simply carrying out his duties when he called for help “for the men and women in his charge.”

Crozier’s former sailors — 172 of whom have tested positive for the coronavirus — were outraged by Modly’s remarks and quickly leaked them to the public.

In his apology, Modly said he regretted any pain the remarks may have caused, but insisted he was right to fire the captain, claiming he should have known his letter could become public, risking public disclosure of the chaos unfolding aboard the carrier.

Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee said in a statement that “Acting Secretary Modly’s decision to address the sailors on the Roosevelt and personally attack Captain Crozier shows a tone-deaf approach more focused on personal ego than one of the calm, steady leadership we so desperately need in this crisis,” the representative said in a statement.

“I no longer have confidence in Acting Secretary Modly’s leadership of the Navy and believe he should be removed from his position,” he added.

Also calling for Modly’s removal were Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va., herself a Navy veteran, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn, Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., and Rep. Justin Amash, I-Mich.

Modly’s designated replacement will be James McPherson, a Navy veteran who is currently serving as undersecretary of the Army. He was confirmed in that position by the Senate last month. Prior to that he was the Army’s general counsel.

Military

Bill Authorizing President to Posthumously Award Medal of Honor Proposed
Military
Bill Authorizing President to Posthumously Award Medal of Honor Proposed
September 17, 2020
by Reece Nations

WASHINGTON – A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced legislation that would authorize the president to posthumously award U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Alwyn Cashe the Medal of Honor. Cashe was injured in October 2005 while deployed in Iraq when the Bradley Fighting Vehicle he was in... Read More

Russian Navy Conducts Major Maneuvers Near Alaska
Geopolitics
Russian Navy Conducts Major Maneuvers Near Alaska

MOSCOW (AP) — The Russian navy conducted major war games near Alaska involving dozens of ships and aircraft, the military said Friday, the biggest such drills in the area since Soviet times. Russia's navy chief, Adm. Nikolai Yevmenov, said that more than 50 warships and about... Read More

Appeals Court Rules That Only Men Can Be Drafted by U.S. Military
Military
Appeals Court Rules That Only Men Can Be Drafted by U.S. Military
August 17, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

Only men can be drafted into the U.S. military, a federal appeals court in New Orleans ruled last week. The ruling was based on a lawsuit filed by the advocacy group National Coalition for Men and two men who alleged sex discrimination. They argued that a... Read More

From Defeat to a First-Ever Bill: How Veterans Are Fighting Back on Toxic Exposure
Veterans
From Defeat to a First-Ever Bill: How Veterans Are Fighting Back on Toxic Exposure

WASHINGTON — When Rosie Torres first knocked on Congress’ doors almost a decade ago, asking for help for her husband and other veterans who became sick following exposure to military burn pits, she gained little traction. What she heard: More research was needed to determine if... Read More

Members Request Investigation of Multibillion Dollar Pentagon Contract
Congress
Members Request Investigation of Multibillion Dollar Pentagon Contract
August 5, 2020
by Reece Nations

WASHINGTON – Two members of Congress have penned letters requesting a probe into the Pentagon’s decision to grant a multibillion dollar moving contract to American Roll-On Roll-Off Carrier Group Inc. The three-year, $7.2 billion contract would privately outsource the management of service members’ household goods, according... Read More

Armed Services Panel Cancels Hearing for Controversial Pentagon Nominee
U.S. Senate
Armed Services Panel Cancels Hearing for Controversial Pentagon Nominee

WASHINGTON — The Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday canceled at the last minute the nomination hearing for Anthony J. Tata, President Donald Trump’s controversial pick to be the Pentagon’s policy chief. Tata, a retired Army brigadier general and regular contributor to Fox News, once called... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top