Captain Of Aircraft Carrier Who Was Fired After Sounding Outbreak Alarm Tests Positive For COVID-19
Capt. Brett Crozier was relieved of duty after a memo he wrote about his concerns for the crew of aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt went public. Top administration officials say they stand by the decision, despite harsh criticism. Some worry that a pattern of such actions could have a chilling effect for those who are concerned about soldiers' health and well being.
The New York Times:
He Led A Top Navy Ship. Now He Sits In Quarantine, Fired And Infected.
For days, he fended off fears that the contagion would spread unchecked through his crew. Then last week, the captain of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, who had appealed to his superiors for help, was fired. By Sunday, friends said, he had come down with the coronavirus himself. The military has long adhered to a rigid chain of command and tolerated no dissent expressed outside official channels. Capt. Brett E. Crozier, the skipper of the aircraft carrier, knew he was up against those imperatives when he asked for help for nearly 5,000 crew members trapped in a petri dish of a warship in the middle of a pandemic. (Schmitt and Ismay, 4/5)
‘How We Hold Leaders Accountable’: Esper Defends Firing Of Navy Captain Who Raised Coronavirus Alarm
Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Sunday defended the firing of the Navy captain who sounded the alarm about a coronavirus outbreak aboard an aircraft carrier, characterizing the commanding officer’s ouster as an “example of how we hold leaders accountable.” On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Esper said acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly “made a very tough decision” Thursday to relieve Capt. Brett Crozier of command of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, but the Pentagon chief added that it was a decision he supported. (Forgey, 4/5)
The Wall Street Journal:
Trump Backs Dismissal Of USS Roosevelt Captain
President Trump said he agreed with the Navy’s decision to fire Capt. Brett Crozier, the commanding officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, after a memo in which the captain pleaded for help with a coronavirus outbreak at sea leaked to the media. The president said Saturday that it was inappropriate for Capt. Crozier to write the four-page memo in which he demanded that superiors allow him to take the carrier to the port in Guam to offload sailors stricken with Covid-19, the pneumonialike disease caused by the virus. As of Saturday, 155 of the ship’s sailors had tested positive. (Restuccia, 4/5)
It’s Hardly Shocking The Navy Fired A Commander For Warning Of Coronavirus Threat. It’s Part Of A Pattern.
Navy experts believe that the cumulative effects of the service’s decisions over the past several years to punish those who speak out will result in silencing sailors with legitimate concerns about their health and safety. “This may have the effect of chilling the responses of other commanding officers because it will be perceived, fairly or not, as a shoot the messenger scenario,” said James Stavridis, a retired admiral and former head of the United States Naval Institute, who called for an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the dismissal. (Miller and Rose, 4/4)
The Wall Street Journal:
Aboard The USS Roosevelt, Sailors Braced For The Worst
The visit to Vietnam in early March was intended as a historic milestone and a symbol of far-reaching U.S. aims in the Pacific, marking 25 years of diplomatic relations with a rare port call by an American aircraft carrier that had been months in the planning. But as the USS Theodore Roosevelt headed back out to sea, sailors and officers realized they faced danger aboard the ship. Crew members soon began suffering from an outbreak of Covid-19 that spread rapidly, plunging the Roosevelt and the Navy into a crisis that now holds implications for U.S. military readiness. (Kesling and Youssef, 4/5)
The Washington Post:
Biden Says It Was ‘Close To Criminal’ For Navy To Oust Captain Who Warned Of Coronavirus Outbreak On Aircraft Carrier
Former vice president Joe Biden on Sunday sharply criticized the dismissal of Capt. Brett Crozier, who was removed from his post as commander of the USS Theodore Roosevelt after speaking up in a leaked letter to his superiors about the handling of a coronavirus outbreak aboard the vessel. “I think it’s close to criminal, the way they’re dealing with this guy. … The idea that this man stood up and said what had to be said, got it out that his troops, his Navy personnel, were in danger, in danger — look how many have the virus,” Biden said in an interview on ABC News’s “This Week.” (Sonmez and DeBonis, 4/5)
The Wall Street Journal:
Ships Are Moving, But Exhausted Sailors Are Stuck At Sea Under Coronavirus Restrictions
Oceangoing shipping companies, already hit by crumbling demand and fractured supply chains from the coronavirus pandemic, are facing another problem on their vessels. Thousands of seafarers can’t travel to man ships, leaving growing numbers of crews around the world exhausted and facing illness at sea. (Paris, 4/5)