Defense officials said Friday that Navy Captain Brett Crozier will not be reinstated as commander of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, after an investigation found fault with his attempts to stop the spread of the coronavirus aboard the ship.
That reverses the results of an earlier investigation which recommended Crozier be given back his command. Crozier was relieved of his command in early April after he sent out a letter pleading for help in containing the coronavirus aboard the ship.
The first investigation concluded he should not have been relieved for sending out the letter. But the second investigation into events that proceeded the letter found he had not done enough to stop the spread of the virus after the ship left a port visit in Vietnam and sailors started showing symptoms, defense officials said. The second investigation also found fault with Crozier's immediate superior, the strike group commander Rear Admiral Stuart Baker, whose promotion to a higher rank is now on hold, according to defense officials.
In April, then-acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly said the captain went outside the chain of command by not bringing his concerns to his direct superior. Days later, Modly resigned after a recording of him saying Crozier was "too naive or too stupid" to lead the ship if he thought an alarming memo he circulated wouldn't become public.
Mr. Trump has previously said he thought it was "inappropriate" for the captain of the ship to write the letter, and that he agreed with the decision to fire him "100%."
Hundreds aboard the ship tested positive for COVID-19. Videos released shortly after Crozier was relieved showed he was cheered by hundreds of sailors as he left the USS Roosevelt docked in Guam. The crew of the Roosevelt openly signaled their support in videos taken from the ship as he strode alone solemnly down the gangway, saluting briefly to the crew before getting into a waiting car on the pier.
"Captain Crozier, Captain Crozier," sailors on the deck of the warship chanted as they clapped.
First published on June 19, 2020 / 5:36 PM
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