Last week, U.S. Navy Capt. Brett Crozier made headlines for being relieved of his command after a letter he wrote to Navy officials about a worsening coronavirus outbreak on the USS Theodore Roosevelt was leaked to the press. Now, Breitbart reports that Capt. Crozier has himself tested positive for COVID-19.
The news comes by way of a New York Times report published Sunday alleging that the Navy officer’s friends said he’d contracted the virus. “It is unclear when he was first tested for COVID-19 or when he received his results,” the Times noted.
“We are not at war”
Crozier was commanding the USS Theodore Roosevelt, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, when he sent out a four-page memo “urging Navy leaders to get sailors off the ship faster in Guam due to a coronavirus outbreak” on board, according to Breitbart. The document was ultimately leaked to the San Francisco Chronicle, which published the story on March 31.
“This will require a political solution but it is the right thing to do,” Crozier was quoted by the Chronicle as saying. “We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die. If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset — our Sailors.
“Due to a warship’s inherent limitations of space, we are not doing this,” the captain continued. “The spread of the disease is ongoing and accelerating.”
According to the Chronicle, Crozier admitted that “removing the majority of personnel from a deployed U.S. nuclear aircraft carrier and isolating them for two weeks may seem like an extraordinary measure;” however, he insisted that doing so was “a necessary risk.”
“Keeping over 4,000 young men and women on board the TR is an unnecessary risk and breaks faith with those Sailors entrusted to our care,” he declared, according to the Chronicle.
“Too naive or too stupid”
Crozier was relieved of his command on April 2, and received an emotional farewell from those who served under him. Sailors could be heard chanting his name as he departed from the vessel, according to Breitbart.
Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly has stated that Crozier was not fired for addressing the coronavirus issue, pointing instead to him having sent the memo via an unsecured email to a large group of people, some of whom were outside his chain of command, Breitbart reported.
The New York Post has published audio of Modly speaking to Crozier’s former crew in Guam after the firing in which he questioned the captain’s fitness to lead.
“If he didn’t think, in my opinion, that this information wasn’t going to get out into the public, in this day and information age that we live in, then he was either A, too naive or too stupid to be a commanding officer of a ship like this. The alternate is that he did it on purpose,” the acting Navy secretary said, according to the Post.
Some of those present apparently objected to that characterization, with at least one yelling profanity in response, the Post reported.