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Navy Upholds Firing of Aircraft Carrier Captain Who Warned of Coronavirus Outbreak on Ship

Captain Brett Crozier addresses the crew for the first time as commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt in San Diego, Calif., November 1, 2019. (U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Sean Lynch/Handout via Reuters)

The Navy has decided to uphold the firing of an aircraft carrier captain whose warning of a coronavirus outbreak on board was leaked to the press, multiple outlets reported on Friday.

Brett Crozier, former captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, sent a letter to superiors in late March pleading for help in controlling coronavirus cases on the ship. Crozier was fired after his letter was leaked to the San Francisco Chronicle almost immediately after the former captain had sent it to superiors.

Two sources familiar with the details of the decision said that the Navy will uphold the promotion of Rear Admiral Stu Baker to captain.

“The results of the investigation justified the relief [of Crozier],” one source told Politico. “He failed to take appropriate action, to do the things that the commanding officer of a ship is supposed to do, so he stays relieved.”

Towards the end of April, Admiral Mike Gilday, chief officer of the U.S. Navy, said he believed Crozier should be reinstated. It is not immediately clear what let to the reversal in the Navy’s position.

After Crozier’s warning leaked to the Chronicle, then-Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly condemned the captain for risking a leak by sending his letter to too many individuals. Modly then flew to Guam and excoriated Crozier in a speech to sailors on the ship. Modly subsequently apologized and resigned his post.

Crozier himself contracted coronavirus and has since recovered. Video of Crozier leaving the aircraft carrier following his firing showed sailors cheering the captain.

Send a tip to the news team at NR.

Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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