Defense Secretary Defends Firing of Navy Captain Who Warned of Coronavirus Spread

April 6, 2020by Kate Feldman, New York Daily News (TNS)
Capt. Brett Crozier, commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), gives remarks during an all-hands call on the ship's flight deck Dec. 15, 2019. (Seaman Alexander Williams/ U.S. Navy)

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Sunday that he supported acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly’s decision to fire the Navy captain who wrote a letter to his superiors about his concerns of the coronavirus pandemic aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt.

“I think acting Secretary Modly made a very tough decision, a decision that I support. It was based on his view that he had lost faith and confidence in the captain based on his actions,” Esper said on CNN. “It was supported by Navy leadership.”

Navy Capt. Brett Crozier was relieved of his post Thursday, two days after his letter appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle. In the letter, Crozier implored his bosses to provide resources for the more than 5,000 people aboard the ship, which has been docked in Guam.

“This will require a political solution but it is the right thing to do,” Crozier wrote. “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.”

So far, at least 155 sailors aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt have tested positive for coronavirus, Esper said. But the crew cannot be evacuated.

“You actually cannot do that because there’s nuclear reactors to be run, you have very sensitive equipment, you have weapons on board that ship,” he said on CNN. “So it’s how you manage the crew, make sure you’re protecting them, segregating, treating those that need treated while at the same time maintaining the readiness of the ship in case it’s called upon to get to sea quickly.”

Esper also insisted that the Navy took action as soon as the first case was reported.

Crozier’s firing has drawn reactions from both side of the aisle. On Saturday, President Trump called the letter “inappropriate.”

“I thought it was terrible what he did, to write a letter. I mean, this isn’t a class on literature. This is a captain of a massive ship that’s nuclear powered, and he shouldn’t be talking that way in a letter. He could call and ask and suggest,” Trump told reporters during a White House briefing on coronavirus. “I thought it looked terrible, to be honest with you.”

But Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden applauded the captain.

“Captain Crozier was faithful to his duty — both to his sailors and his country,” the former vice president tweeted. “Navy leadership sent a chilling message about speaking truth to power. The poor judgment here belongs to the Trump Admin, not a courageous officer trying to protect his sailors.”

———

©2020 New York Daily News

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Military

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

House Votes to End Military Ban on Transgender Troops
Military
House Votes to End Military Ban on Transgender Troops

WASHINGTON — The House adopted by voice vote an amendment to the fiscal 2021 Defense appropriations bill Thursday that would effectively bring an end to the Trump administration’s severe restrictions on transgender people serving openly in the U.S. military. The amendment was tucked into a massive en... Read More

Pentagon Announces Major Re-Alignment of Troops in Europe
Military
Pentagon Announces Major Re-Alignment of Troops in Europe
July 29, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - The Pentagon is winding down the U.S. military presence in Germany, and relocating some, but not all of those troops closer to the Russian border, Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced Wednesday. The decision marks a major force restructuring aimed at shrinking the U.S. mission... Read More

House, Senate Pass Bills to Study the Number of Cancers Striking Military Pilots
Military
House, Senate Pass Bills to Study the Number of Cancers Striking Military Pilots

WASHINGTON — The Department of Defense would be required to identify how many of its current or former aviators have been diagnosed with cancer in bills passed by the House and Senate this week, a study long sought by military pilots who have questioned why there... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top