Navy Capt. Crozier, fired for letter about coronavirus on USS Roosevelt, gets big send-off from sailors




  • In Politics
  • 2020-04-03 15:08:08Z
  • By USA TODAY
Navy Capt. Crozier, fired for letter about coronavirus on USS Roosevelt, gets big send-off from sailors
Navy Capt. Crozier, fired for letter about coronavirus on USS Roosevelt, gets big send-off from sailors  

WASHINGTON - Videos posted on social media showed a huge send-off for Navy Capt. Brett Crozier, the commander of an aircraft carrier who was ousted Thursday after sending a letter pleading with Navy leadership to protect his crew from the spreading coronavirus.

One video from the Facebook account of Michael Washington shows hundreds of service members on the hanger deck of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, which is currently docked in Guam, chanting "Captain Crozier! Captain Crozier!" and clapping.

Someone in the video says, "and that's how you send off one of the greatest captains you've ever had," and adding "The GOAT [Greatest Of All Time], the man for the people."

Crozier was fired just four days after he pleaded for help as the coronavirus ravaged his crew on the Roosevelt. Crozier had sent an urgent letter to the U.S. Navy on Sunday, seeking to evacuate and isolate the crew as cases of coronavirus infection increased on the vessel. The letter, which was published in the San Francisco Chronicle, had been sent out broadly via email, creating "panic" on the vessel, according to Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly. Modly said Crozier had "exercised extremely poor judgment."

But overnight Thursday, videos surfaced on social media showing a raucous going-away for Crozier and the term "Captain Crozier" started trending on Twitter as many praised his decision to protect his crew.

A video from Facebook user Taliah Peterkin appears to show Crozier walking down the gangway of the ship before saluting the ship and waving good-bye.

In the four-page letter to Navy officials, Crozier had asked for the crew of the aircraft carrier to be evacuated and for "decisive action" as the coronavirus spread onboard.

"We are not at war, and therefore cannot allow a single Sailor to perish as a result of this pandemic unnecessarily," Crozier wrote.

Democrats who lead the House Armed Services committee blasted Modly for firing Crozier. The lawmakers acknowledged Crozier improperly went outside the chain of command in releasing his letter, but they called his dismissal an overreaction.

More: Navy fires USS Theodore Roosevelt captain days after he pleaded for help for sailors with coronavirus

More: Captain of aircraft carrier asks U.S. Navy to evacuate crew amid 'accelerating' COVID-19 outbreak

As of Wednesday, about one-quarter of the 4,800 member crew had been tested for the virus, and 93 had been found to have COVID-19. About 1,000 sailors had been evacuated from the ship.

Contributing: Jeanine Santucci, Tom Vanden Brook

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Coronavirus: Capt. Brett Crozier gets send-off from USS Roosevelt

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