Navy affirms removal of captain who sounded alarm about coronavirus
Navy Capt. Brett Crozier and his boss, Rear Adm. Stuart Baker, face punitive action over their handling of a coronavirus outbreak onboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt, Navy Adm. Michael Gilday said at a Pentagon press briefing on Friday.
Catch up quick: Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly relieved Crozier after the captain made a rare plea for help over growing coronavirus spread on the ship in late March, by asking that the crew be quarantined due to lack of space.
- Modly resigned in April after apologizing for comments he made about Crozier on April 5. In leaked audio of an address to the crew, Modly said Crozier was either "too naive, or too stupid to be a commanding officer of a ship like this."
Where it stands: Crozier will not get his job back, as the Navy's top admiral found that Modly was right to remove the captain from the position. Baker's promotion to a two-star admiral will be paused and Crozier will not be eligible for future command, Gilday said.
- "They did not do enough, soon enough, to fulfill their primary obligation ... they failed to move sailors to available safer environments quickly," Gilday said. He added that Crozier "exercised questionable judgement" when he released sailers from quarantine on the ship and that both men put "crew comfort in front of crew safety."
Flashback: 13 sailors onboard the Roosevelt tested positive for the coronavirus for a second time in mid-May, after returning from over two weeks of self-isolation following earlier positive COVID-19 diagnoses.
- During the ship's outbreak in March, a senior officer aboard the carrier told the San Francisco Chronicle that between 150 and 200 sailors had tested positive.