NATIONAL NEWS

Navy Admiral Advises Reinstatement Of Fired Carrier Captain

Apr 24, 2020, 11:03 PM

An F/A-18F Super Hornet, assigned to the Black Knights of Strike Fighter Squadron 154, lands on the...

An F/A-18F Super Hornet, assigned to the Black Knights of Strike Fighter Squadron 154, lands on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), March 18, 2020. (MCX3 Nicholas Huynh/U.S. Navy/FILE)

(MCX3 Nicholas Huynh/U.S. Navy/FILE)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The top Navy officer has recommended the reinstatement of the aircraft carrier captain fired for sending a fraught email to commanders pleading for faster action to protect his crew from a coronavirus outbreak, officials familiar with the investigation said Friday.

Adm. Mike Gilday recommended that Navy Capt. Brett Crozier be returned to his ship, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the results of an investigation that have not yet been made public.

If approved, his recommendation would end a drama that has rocked the Navy leadership, sent thousands of USS Theodore Roosevelt crew members ashore in Guam for quarantine and impacted the fleet across the Pacific, a region critical to America’s national security interests.

Gilday met with Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Tuesday and with Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Friday morning to lay out his recommendations. An official said Esper has asked for a delay in any public announcement while he considers the recommendation.

Earlier in the day, Esper’s chief spokesman Jonathan Hoffman had suggested that Esper was going into the matter with an open mind, and said “he is generally inclined to support Navy leadership in their decision.” In a written statement released after the news of Gilday’s recommendation broke, Hoffman said Esper got a “verbal update” from Gilday and wants to read the written report and then meet with the Navy to “discuss next steps.”

While other details of Gilday’s recommendations were not clear, they are expected to address the broader communications and leadership issues on the ship and within the fleet, including how the ship dealt the with growing outbreak, and how that information traveled through the chain of command. There have been ongoing questions about whether Navy leaders took too long to acknowledge the ship’s problems and if other commanders share blame for not being responsive to Crozier’s concerns.

One senior defense official said the investigation covered a complex timeline of communications that spanned multiple time zones and military commands. The official said Esper wants to make sure the report is thorough and stands up to scrutiny.

Rep. Adam Smith, a Washington state Democrat and chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, urged Esper to restore Crozier to command.

“While Captain Crozier’s actions at the outset of the health crisis aboard the TR were drastic and imperfect, it is clear he only took such steps to protect his crew,” Smith said in a statement.

The extraordinary episode has captivated a public already overwhelmed by the pandemic. And it has played out as the military copes with the coronavirus by reducing training, scaling back recruiting and halting troop movements even as it deploys tens of thousands of National Guard and other troops to help civilian agencies deal with virus outbreaks across the country.

Crozier was abruptly removed earlier this month by acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly, who resigned days later. His return to the ship would reunite him with crew members so upset about his firing that many crowded together on the deck and applauded and chanted his name as he strode off the ship.

As of Friday, 856 sailors on the USS Theodore Roosevelt have tested positive for the virus and four are hospitalized. One sailor, who was from Arkansas, has died, and more than 4,200 of the ship’s nearly 5,000 crew members have been moved onto the island for quarantine.

As that outbreak continues, a second Navy ship at sea is now also reporting a growing number of infections. Navy officials said at least 18 crew members on the USS Kidd naval destroyer have tested positive, and one sailor has been evacuated to the U.S. The Kidd, with its crew of 350, is off the Pacific coast of Central America, where it has been operating as part of a U.S. counter-drug mission.

Clearing the aircraft carrier and its crew of the virus has proven to be difficult and complicated. Sailors who test negative after time in quarantine are suddenly showing symptoms a day or two later. The virus’s bewildering behavior, which is challenging the broader international medical community. is making it harder to determine when the carrier might be able to return either to duty or head home.

Gilday’s recommendations were first reported by The New York Times.

Crozier was fired April 2 by Modly after sending an email to several naval officers warning about the growing virus outbreak and asking for permission to isolate the bulk of his crew members on shore. It was an extraordinary move that would take the carrier out of duty in an effort to save lives.

“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,” Crozier said in the memo.

Modly complained that Crozier “demonstrated extremely poor judgment” in the middle of a crisis, saying the captain copied too many people on the memo, which quickly went public. Modly also asserted that Crozier had improperly allowed sensitive information about the ship’s condition to become public.

A few days later, Modly flew out to the ship and delivered a profanity-laced condemnation of Crozier over the loudspeaker to the crew. Crozier, he said, may have been “too naive or too stupid” to be commanding officer of the ship.

Just hours after his comments were widely reported, Modly apologized. But the next day, in the face of widespread criticism, he resigned. Esper initially defended Modly’s firing of Crozier, saying he made a “very tough decision.” But other military leaders, including Gilday, internally opposed the firing, saying an investigation should be conducted first.

Modly’s trip to the carrier cost him Esper’s support. Esper first demanded Modly apologize and a day later accepted his resignation.

President Donald Trump has expressed seemingly contradictory views on the matter. He initially blasted Crozier, calling his memo “terrible.” But a short time later he softened his take, saying he didn’t want to destroy someone who may just have “had a bad day.”

KSL 5 TV Live

National News

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley takes a question from an audience member during a tow...

Bridger Beal-Cvetko, KSL.com

Nikki Haley to visit Utah next week ahead of Super Tuesday presidential caucus votes

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley will visit Utah next Wednesday, ahead of the state's GOP presidential preference poll during caucus meetings on Super Tuesday.

1 hour ago

Beyoncé is pictured at the 2024 Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.
Mandatory Credit:	Kevin Mazur/Getty ...

Alli Rosenbloom, CNN

Beyoncé debuts at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart and makes history

Beyoncé’s new song “Texas Hold ‘Em” debuted in the top spot of Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart on Tuesday.

2 hours ago

FILE - Portrait of British pop group The Beatles (L-R) Paul McCartney, George Harrison (1943 - 2001...

Jake Coyle, AP Film Writer

Beatles to get a Fab Four of biopics, with a movie each for Paul, John, George and Ringo

The Beatles are getting the big-screen biopic treatment in a Fab Four of movies that will give each band member their own film.

3 hours ago

WILMINGTON, DELAWARE - JULY 26: Hunter Biden, son of U.S. President Joe Biden, departs the J. Caleb...

Associated Press

Ex-FBI informant charged with lying about Bidens had Russian intelligence contacts, prosecutors say

Prosecutors say a former FBI informant charged with making up a multimillion-dollar bribery scheme involving President Joe Biden had contacts with officials affiliated with Russian intelligence.

3 hours ago

Capital One is acquiring Discover Financial Services, a move that could disrupt the credit card ind...

Elisabeth Buchwald, CNN

America is on the cusp of a new biggest credit card company. Here’s what it could mean for you

Capitol One is acquiring Discover Financial Services in a $35.3 billion all-stock deal.

4 hours ago

This illustration provided by the European Southern Observatory in February 2024, depicts the recor...

Marcia Dunn, The Associated Press

Astronomers find what may be the universe’s brightest object with a black hole devouring a sun a day

Astronomers have discovered what may be the brightest object in the universe, a quasar with a black hole at its heart growing so fast that it swallows the equivalent of a sun a day.

4 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Navy Admiral Advises Reinstatement Of Fired Carrier Captain