Navy fires captain who sought help for virus-stricken ship
The captain of a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier facing a growing outbreak of the coronavirus on his ship was fired on April 2 by Navy leaders who said he created a panic by sending his memo pleading for help to too many people.
Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said the ship's commander, Capt. Brett Crozier "demonstrated extremely poor judgment" in the middle of a crisis. He said the captain copied too many people on the memo, which was leaked to a California newspaper and quickly spread to many news outlets.
Modly's decision to remove Crozier as ship commander was immediately condemned by members of the House Armed Services Committee, who called it a "destabilizing move" that will "likely put our service members at greater risk and jeopardize our fleet's readiness."
Modly told Pentagon reporters during an abruptly called press conference on April 2 that Crozier should have gone directly to his immediate commanders, who were already moving to help the ship. And he said Crozier created a panic by suggesting 50 sailors could die.
The USS Theodore Roosevelt, with a crew of nearly 5,000, is docked in Guam, and the Navy has said as many as 3,000 will be taken off the ship and quarantined by March 3.
More than 100 sailors on the ship have tested positive for the virus, but none are hospitalized at this point.
"What it does, it undermines our efforts and the chain of command's efforts to address this problem and creates a panic and creates the perception that the Navy is not on the job, the government is not on the job, and it's just not true," Modly said.
He complained that Crozier sent the memo to people outside his chain of command and in a non-secure, unclassified email. And, he said he concluded that the captain's...
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