Capt. Crozier was denied by Navy to reinstate after USS Theodore Roosevelt outbreak

The Navy announced it will not reinstate the captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt who was relieved of his position after sounding the alarm about a coronavirus outbreak that killed one sailor and infected nearly 1,000.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday said Capt. Brett Crozier won’t receive any further punishment for his handling of the outbreak on the ship or his letter that brought attention to the situation.

Gilday said, “I will not reassign Capt. Brett Crozier as the commanding officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, nor will he be eligible for future command. Capt. Crozier will be reassigned”.

The Navy relieved Crozier from his position on the aircraft carrier in April after he sent a letter to Navy leaders calling attention to the seriousness of the outbreak. He sought to have the ship evacuated, but his superior, Rear Adm. Stuart Baker, commander of Carrier Strike Group 9, wanted less extreme measures to be taken.

Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly dismissed Crozier after the letter of complaint went public and traveled to Guam to tell sailors on board the ship that the popular captain was “stupid” for failing to realize his memo could go public.

Modly subsequently resigned, and at the end of April the Navy announced it would conduct a deeper investigation into the ship’s outbreak.

Ultimately, nearly 1,000 sailors on the ship tested positive for coronavirus and one — Chief Petty Officer Charles Robert Thacker — died from the disease.

The ship was sidelined for two months in Guam so service members could be isolated, tested and treated, and the ship could be cleaned. The ship departed Guam on June 4.

Gilday originally recommended Crozier’s reinstatement, but reversed course Friday, saying he acted to slowly in protecting sailors from the virus and improperly released sick service members from quarantine.

“It is because of what he didn’t do that I have chosen not to reinstate him,” Gilday said.

He also said he’s withholding Baker’s promotion to rear admiral upper half pending a review, also holding him responsible for the handling of the outbreak.

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