Captain Brett Crozier was unfairly dismissed for sending a strongly-worded letter regarding a COVID-19 outbreak on the USS Theodore Roosevelt.
United States President Donald Trump's initial reactions to the Coronavirus outbreak - from calling it a "hoax" to disregarding the concerns of health experts - has shown us that expecting leadership out of the present administration is a tough ask. On similar lines, a Navy officer was recently fired for raising the alarm about a COVID-19 outbreak on his aircraft carrier, NBC News reports. While he should have been praised for his responsible actions, he was punished for them. The Navy has since been criticized for the unfair dismissal as thousands of messages of support came flooding in for the officer.
"We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die."— Barry Schapiro, MD, FAAOS (@bschapiroMD) April 1, 2020
-Captian Brett Cozier, USS Theodore Roosevelt
There are 4000 sailors’ lives at risk on board the USS TR.
But Benghazi, right?
Commander Of Coronavirus-Struck Navy Ship Pleads For Help : Coronavirus https://t.co/3lWIWmgdHG
Captain Brett Crozier, who was formerly in command of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, raised his concerns about an outbreak of Coronavirus onboard his aircraft carrier in a strongly worded letter addressed to Navy leadership. The letter was quickly leaked to the media and subsequently began generating a series of headlines. The carrier hosts a crew of 5,000 Navy officials. An outbreak among such a large crew of large could be absolutely devastating. The Captain, therefore, should have received praise for raising the alarm. Instead, he was relieved of his command on Thursday. However, he will be permitted to keep his rank and remain in the Navy.
I think a lot of Americans will join me in a collective SCREW YOU! after your firing of an actual hero, Capt. Brett Cozier of the USS Theodore Roosevelt. Capt. Cozier, unlike you & everyone else in this disgusting administration has proven he cares about the lives of servicemen.— Hysterical Raisins (@HRaisins) April 2, 2020
Why was the Captain, Brett Cozier, sacked?— 🌊🇺🇸 Germerican 🇩🇪🌊 (@tyrion1) April 3, 2020
It's not the first time it happens. It is to send a message to all military personnel: You obey my orders, or you're fired. It's a message targeted at the event in which he would try to assume absolute power. A coup against the people.
At a news conference on Thursday evening, Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly claimed Captain Crozier was relieved of his duty as he sent a letter over "non-secure unclassified email" to a "broad array of people" rather than following the appropriate chain of command. This, of course, seems like an extreme punishment for the alleged error. The Navy Secretary added nonetheless, "I have no doubt in my mind that Captain Crozier did what he thought was in the best interest of the safety and well-being of his crew. Unfortunately, it did the opposite. It unnecessarily raised the alarm of the families of our sailors and Marines with no plans to address those concerns."
We see your cowardice for what it is Thomas B. Modly, we see you. What you did to Capt. Brett Cozier is dishonorable. You should be fired Modly. FIRED. #covid19— Vivian (@ViviansPodcasts) April 3, 2020
Modly = COWARD Cozier = HERO pic.twitter.com/hDCd8Jv6Bl
Secretary Modly also noted that the decision to fire the Captain was his alone. "The responsibility for this decision rests with me," he said. "I expect no congratulations for it. Captain Crozier is an incredible man." Furthermore, though he praised Crozier, he affirmed that the Captain "allowed the complexity of the challenge of the COVID breakout on the ship to overwhelm his ability to act professionally." It is strange that Modly would preempt he would receive congratulations for the unfair dismissal. In actuality, he - along with overall Navy leadership - has been heavily criticized for the decision.
Captain Brett Cozier: "Can you please take stronger measures to control the Coronavirus outbreak."— CryptographyAC_ (@CryptographyAC_) April 3, 2020
U.S. Navy: "cAn yOu pLeAse tAke sTrOnger mEasuRes tO cOnTrol tHe CorOna bEEr oUtbrEak" https://t.co/q1u4H3uhDk pic.twitter.com/yPz0JaG55r
A group of top Democratic lawmakers on the House Armed Services Committee issued a statement slamming Crozier's dismissal. The statement, filed by chairman Representative Adam Smith of Washington, subcommittee chairs Representative Joe Courtney of Connecticut, Representative John Garamendi of California, and Representative Jackie Speier of California, deemed the move "reckless." It read, "The dismissal of Captain Crozier at this critical moment, as the sailors aboard the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt are confronted with the COVID-19 pandemic, is a reckless, political move that reeks of undue command influence."
Former Vice President Joe Biden also criticized the decision and put Secretary Modly. He claimed that Modly "shot the messenger — a commanding officer who was faithful to both his national security mission and his duty to care for his sailors, and who rightly focused attention on a broader concern about how to maintain military readiness during this pandemic." The ship docked at a port in Guam last week after several crew members tested positive for Coronavirus. However, the ship could have docked several days prior in order to prevent the further spread of the disease. More than 1,000 people were taken off the ship and placed in isolation after pulling into the Guam port. 1,700 more crew members are expected to disembark the ship later this week.