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Navy will not reinstate USS Roosevelt captain, who authored leaked email pleading for COVID-19 help

An initial probe into the incident found that Capt. Brett Crozier should get his job back

Capt. Brett Crozier/(Image source: Fox News videos screenshot)

The U.S. Navy announced Friday that the former captain of the coronavirus-stricken aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt will not get his job back, despite an earlier investigation that recommended he be returned to the helm.

What are the details?

A press release from Naval Operations reported that Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday determined that ousted Capt. Brett Crozier "will not be re-instated" as commander officer of the ship, after reviewing "the results of the command investigation into the events surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt."

The media alert also announced a delay in the promotion of Crozier's boss, saying consideration "of Rear Adm. Stuart Baker for a second star has been delayed pending further examination."

MarketWatch reported the decision as "a stunning reversal" that serves as "confirmation of concerns expressed by top Pentagon officials who demanded a deeper investigation last month when the initial probe recommended Crozier's reinstatement as the ship's captain."

Gilday himself had endorsed the reinstatement of Crozier a few months ago, but said Friday that if Crozier had not been let go earlier he would be relieved of duty today.

According to Military.com, Gilday said Friday, "Had I known then what I know today, I would have not made that recommendation." He continued, "In reviewing both [Rear Adm. Stuart] Baker and Crozier's actions, they did not do enough soon enough to fulfill their primary obligation."

Fox News reported that "the Navy stressed Crozier was not released from duty for the email or for firing the red flare about the outbreak on his ship. However, the Navy concluded that Crozier had multiple opportunities to alert his chain of command to his concerns before writing the leaked email. Also on the email he only addressed fellow aviators, leaving off a key submariner who is in his chain of command."

Capt. Crozier was removed from his command of the USS Roosevelt in early April after the media obtained an email he wrote to senior military officials, begging for help for his sailors amid a spreading COVID-19 outbreak on the aircraft carrier.

Then-acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly, who fired Crozier, flew to Guam—where the ship was docked—shortly thereafter and delivered a speech to the crew wherein he said Crozier was either "naive" or "stupid" if he thought his email would not go public. Modly resigned the day after his speech.

In Gilday's endorsement accompanying the investigation on Friday, he wrote, "I make this decision fully recognizing that his email, which was leaked to the media and is the genesis of this investigation, was sent with the well-being of the crew of the USS Theodore Roosevelt as his top concern. Also I am mindful that the actions of those involved must be considered with the understanding of the unprecedented nature of the challenge, the fast-pace of the crisis, and the difficulties involved with evolving guidance."

However, Gilday added, "It is clear to me following this investigation, Capt. Crozier did not act according to the standards I expect of our commanding officers — to adapt in the face of adversity, exercise ingenuity and creativity in crisis, demonstrate resilience, communicate effectively up the chain of command, and to take bold and appropriate action early and often."

One last thing…
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