Over the past day, Captain Brett Crozier of the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt has become a symbol of American resilience and determination in a time of crisis. Faced with a nightmare scenario as coronavirus stalked the 3,000 man crew of his aircraft carrier and displeased with the response he was getting from the Navy, Captain Crozier made the brave and risky decision to widely share his letter to Navy officials through non-classified channels, in which he made it clear that leaving the uninfected sailors aboard the vessel was needlessly putting them at risk.
“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,” wrote Crozier in his letter, which he CC’d to 20 or 30 people. The letter found its way to the San Francisco Chronicle and led to his rapid dismissal by the Navy, who officially insisted it was because Crozier went outside the chain of command.
But not content with just firing the man, President Trump’s Acting Navy Secretary, Thomas Modly, joined right-wing propagandist Hugh Hewitt to smear Crozier and paint him as being emotionally unfit for command.
“I had just lost confidence in this particular commanding officer’s ability to manage through this crisis based on the actions he displayed last week. And without going into too many details on it, because I have detailed that in my statement yesterday, I just lost confidence in his ability” said Modly.
But more telling was his next sentence, which was to complain that “I think he put the spotlight on the Navy in a negative light when all the things he was asking for we’re surging for him…and I just can’t have a commanding officer who gets overwhelmed and uses that type of judgment in the middle of a crisis.”
While Modly quickly added that “this is not an indictment of his entire career. He’s had an absolutely incredible career. I’m envious of it. He’s done some amazing things,” it begs the question of why he felt the need to publicly disparage the man’s judgment if his firing was solely for sending unclassified communications.
Though Navy higher-ups might not have appreciated Crozier stepping over the line to raise the alarms, his sailors certainly did, as evidenced by the raucous send-off they gave their beloved captain:
Watch this video of the send off of Captain Crozier, commander of the aircraft carrier USS Roosevelt who was fired yesterday for sounding the alarm to protect his sailors. Tells you everything you need to know about the type of #leader he is. pic.twitter.com/z9q3pTJpgZ
— Amber Smith (@AmberSmithUSA) April 3, 2020
It is a sad day for our military when the safety of our sailors is deemed less important than adherence to regulations.