In early April, U.S. Navy Captain Brett Crozier was relieved of his duties as commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt when he voiced concerns about a COVID-19 outbreak on his vessel just days earlier. Although the move was criticized by many — including Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden — it has now been revealed that his firing will be upheld as the result of an investigation of the incident.
Furthermore, his on-board boss — Rear Admiral Stuart P. Baker — will have his promotion to two-star admiral put on hold for his role in handling the outbreak. Politico reported on the Navy’s decision with regard to Crozier and Baker on Friday, citing two people familiar with the probe. Navy Admiral Michael Gilday later confirmed the report during a Department of Defense press briefing.
One of Politico‘s sources opined that “the results of the investigation justified the relief,” while the other said that Crozier “failed to take appropriate action, to do the things that the commanding officer of a ship is supposed to do, so he stays relieved.” Gilday echoed those statements during his briefing.
Crozier became a household name in late March when he emailed a four-page memorandum to multiple Navy officers, pleading for authorization to evacuate most of his crew and have them quarantined ashore after several of his sailors became infected with the novel coronavirus. The 50-year-old maintained in the memorandum that following quarantine procedures and CDC recommendations on social distancing on the Theodore Roosevelt would be impossible.
One day later, the email was leaked to the San Francisco Chronicle, and the story subsequently dominated the headlines. Shortly thereafter, President Donald Trump’s then-acting Secretary of the Navy, Thomas Modly, relieved Crozier of his command. As reported previously by The Inquisitr, Trump backed the ouster, saying that Crozier’s decision to send the email “was terrible” and noting that he “shouldn’t be talking that way in a letter.”
Crozier was reported by The New York Times and other outlets to have received a “send-off for the ages” following his dismissal for putting the safety of his crew members above his own naval career. Video footage of that massive showing of support quickly spread online. For his part, Biden claimed that Crozier’s firing was “close to criminal” and further praised him for doing what he felt was necessary to protect those under his command.
News that Crozier will indeed remain relieved represents a notable shift from the Navy’s recommendation in April that he be reinstated to his former command. General Mark Milley, the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was not satisfied following preliminary inquiries, per Politico, and later angled for a deeper investigation of the incident, which delayed the decision on reinstating Crozier.