Navy won’t reinstate fired captain Crozier, who raised alarm on COVID-19 outbreak

Per Kyle Griffin:

Breaking via Politico: The Navy has decided to uphold the firing of Capt. Brett Crozier, the former commanding officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt who was relieved of duty after raising the alarm about a COVID-19 outbreak on his ship in March.

WATCH:

The Hill reports the Navy will not reinstate the fired commander of the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier following an investigation of leadership’s handling of a coronavirus outbreak onboard in March.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday said on Friday that the service will uphold its firing of Capt. Brett Crozier, who was removed from his post after a letter he wrote pleading for help with the outbreak leaked to the media.

“He will not be reassigned nor will he be eligible for future command,” Gilday told reporters at the Pentagon.

The Navy will also place a hold on the promotion of Rear Adm. Stu Baker, the one-star commander of Carrier Strike Group 9 and the senior officer onboard the Roosevelt at the time of the COVID-19 outbreak, Gilday said.

Both men will be able to remain in the Navy though it’s likely the saga will put an end to their careers.

The Navy’s decision to stand by Crozier’s firing is an about face from April, when a preliminary investigation recommended that the captain be reinstated.

A wider investigation, started in April after the preliminary probe, then led Gilday to conclude that “Capt. Crozier and Adm. Baker fell well short of what we expect of those in command.”

“Had I known then what I know today, I would have not made that recommendation to reinstate Capt. Crozier,” Gilday said. “Moreover, if Capt. Crozier were still in command today, I would be relieving him.”

Top Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement later on Thursday that Navy Secretary Kenneth Braithwaite briefed Defense Secretary Mark Esper on the finished investigation, which he believes “to have been thorough and fair and supports the Navy’s decisions based on their findings.”

The wrapped investigation marks the end of a contentious few months in the Navy, which came under fire for its handling of the pandemic after an outbreak aboard the Roosevelt forced it to dock in Guam.

Crozier prior to the ship docking wrote a letter to Navy leadership, leaked in the media, in which he warned of dire consequences if most of the crew on board the Roosevelt wasn’t evacuated.

“We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die,” Crozier wrote. “If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset — our sailors.”