I have been following with much interest the story about the COVID-19 outbreak on the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier
USS Theodore Roosevelt and the unceremonious canning of its CO, Captain Crozier. Acting SECNAV Modly says he fired him not because he failed to follow the chain of command but because, “In sending (his email request to SECNAV) out pretty broadly, he did not take care to ensure that it couldn’t be leaked.”
Some context is needed here. Modly himself has come under public criticism because he has pursued “business as usual” in the Navy while apparently doing little to prepare for the inevitable impact of the virus on close-quartered crews. Whether this is justified, I don’t know, but it seems clear that a top officer’s career is now toast because of political embarrassment. This is further evidenced by a recent NY Times report that acting SECDEF Esper had “urged American military commanders overseas not to make any decisions related to the coronavirus that might surprise the White House or run afoul of President Trump’s messaging on the growing health challenge.”
Captain Crozier did not get his job by being stupid or ignorant, needless to say. My very strong suspicion is that his initial reporting of the virus aboard the TR was not getting the attention it deserved and he was leveraging wider knowledge in the Navy community to get proactive action and save sailors’ lives. And, it unintentionally leaked to the press. I have no doubt his actions saved lives.
I recommend at least the following two links on the situation: