Details Emerge on Why Navy Captain Was Fired, Letter Leaked to SF Chronicle

New details have emerged on the firing of ex-Navy Captain Brett Crozier and it turns out a letter he wrote was leaked to the San Francisco Chronicle.

ABCNews reports the captain of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt has been relieved of duty for exercising “poor judgment” in not safeguarding information in a letter to Navy leadership that was leaked to a newspaper. The letter requested that most of the ship’s crew of 5,000 be taken off the ship to contain the spread of novel coronavirus.

Thomas Modly, the acting secretary of the Navy, said Thursday at a hastily called Pentagon briefing that Capt. Brett Crozier was being relieved for a loss of confidence and poor judgment.

“I lost confidence in his ability to lead that warship as it continues to fight through this virus, get the crew healthy, so that it can continue to meet its national security requirements,” said Modly.

In a letter to Navy commanders that was leaked to the San Francisco Chronicle. Crozier used blunt language to senior commanders urging that most of his crew of 5,000 be sailors be removed from the ship to slow down the spread of the coronavirus.

“Sailors do not need to die,” he wrote in the letter that led to a firestorm of controversy.

Modly made clear he did not fault Crozier for wanting to protect his crew, but took issue with how he did not express his concerns with his immediate supervisor, the rear admiral aboard the ship who was in charge of the Roosevelt carrier strike group.

“He’s being relieved because to me that demonstrated extremely poor judgment in the middle of a crisis,” said Modly. “Because of what it’s done, it’s has created a firestorm. It’s created doubts about the ship’s ability to go to sea if it needs to. It’s created doubt among the families, about the health of their sailors.”

Modly said he had no information to indicate that Crozier personally leaked the letter, but noted that in emailing it to 20-30 people he provided an opportunity for the letter to be leaked.

“He did not safeguard that information and to keep it from being sent anywhere,” said Modly.

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