On April 2, Captain Brett Elliot Crozier was relieved from his duty as Commanding Officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt. This action ensued after Crozier’s letter was obtained and published in a newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle. In the four-page letter, Captain Crozier, pleaded to senior military officers for resources to contain and abate the Covid-19 outbreak within the USS Theodore Roosevelt. The nuclear aircraft carrier is home to more than 5, 000 crew members of different naval and aviation designations.
Crozier appealed to higher ranking officers to take ‘immediate and decisive action’ as the ship battles a Covid-19 outbreak in which he stated, ‘The spread of the disease is ongoing and accelerating.’ He further wrote, ‘However, we are not at war, and therefore cannot allow a single Sailor to perish as a result of this pandemic unnecessarily.’ At the time of the expose’, there are more than 100 crew members infected with the virus within limited quarantine and isolation quarters. Unfortunately, official numbers are inaccessible due to the Navy’s insistence to withhold such information claiming anonymity preserves safety of the crew and national security as well.
As they docked in Guam, most of the infected crew were disembarked to local facilities for quarantine and isolation. By June, the carrier was well on its way to continue its deployment in the western Pacific Ocean. More than 350 sailors remained to as recuperating protocols suggested.
Currently, Pentagon is at a standstill in regards with Capt. Crozier’s reinstatement. In fact, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley wants a full-blown investigation of the events that lead to the firing of the captain before any actions are taken for or against Crozier. This impasse comes after the Navy has formally recommended his reinstatement for the USS Roosevelt and together with criticisms from former Acting Navy secretary Thomas Modly. He commented, ‘We don’t disagree with the [commanding officer] on that ship, and we’re doing it in a very methodical way because it’s not the same as a cruise ship … that ship has armaments on it, it has aircraft on it.’. Modly remarked that Crozier violated the chain of command by his actions of sending the letter to about 20 people. The results of the investigation is expected to be released in the coming weeks and so is the fate of Crozier’s career as a seasoned naval aviator.