In A Reversal By Navy, Sacked Captain Of USS Roosevelt Will Not Be Reinstated

Brett Crozier was initially recommended to retain command of an aircraft carrier after being removed for protesting the Navy's response to the virus on the ship. The Navy now says he won't go back.
Capt. Brett Crozier, then-commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, talks to reporters in January. The Navy has decided not to restore him to command. Source: U.S. Navy via Getty Images

U.S. Navy Capt. Brett Crozier, who raised alarms in late March about a serious coronavirus outbreak aboard the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier he commanded, will not be reinstated after being stripped of that command post."I will not reassign Capt. Brett Crozier as the commanding officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, nor will he be eligible for future command," Adm. Michael Gilday, chief of naval operations, declared Friday at a Pentagon , adding that Crozier would be reassigned. Also facing sanctions is Rear Adm. Stuart Baker, the commander of the"Had I known then what I know today, I would have not made that recommendation to reinstate Capt. Crozier," the Navy's highest-ranking officer added. "Moreover, if Capt. Crozier were still in command today, I would be relieving him." "Capt. Crozier hit send once on that email," Gilday said. "Capt. Crozier did not leak that email, or intend for it to be leaked. So at that time, I felt that the facts did not justify relief, based on the narrow scope." "They did not do enough soon enough to fulfill their primary obligation, and they did not effectively carry out our guidelines to prevent spread of the virus," Gilday told reporters. "They were slow egressing sailors off the ship, and they failed to move sailors to available, safer environments quickly."More than 1,100 of the warship's crew of about 5,000 ultimately tested positive for the coronavirus, including Crozier; one of those sailors died. Many crew members were removed from the ship at dockside in Guam and kept in isolation there in hotel rooms and other accommodations arranged by the Navy. "In the end, the email and letters sent by Capt. Crozier were unnecessary," he said. "Actions were already underway to acquire CDC-compliant off-base hotel rooms for the crew before he sent that email.""We did not make a decision to make that port visit until a day before," Gilday said. "We exhausted several means and sources of information before we made the determination to put that ship into port.""As bad as I feel for Capt. Crozier and Adm. Baker and their families, I've got a responsibility to put the best people possible on a ship that is now operating in the Philippine Sea with two other strike groups," Gilday said. "I need people gripping problems, I need them driving solutions, I need them communicating fearlessly." "I can tell you that the morale of the men and women is very good," the Navy's top civilian said, citing visits he's made to two other aircraft carriers this month. "I think we can put some of these incidents behind us, especially now that we've concluded this; we can move on."

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