The captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt was relieved of command after writing a memo pleading for assistance in addressing the coronavirus outbreak on the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, which is sidelined in Guam.
Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly announced the decision Thursday at the Pentagon, criticizing the way Captain Brett Crozier expressed his concerns and saying the officer let the stress of the outbreak, which has affected more than 100 crew members, “overwhelm his ability to act professionally.”
The memo, which Navy leaders say was sent via unsecure email and distributed broadly outside the chain of command, “created a little bit of panic on the ship,” and “misrepresented the facts of what was going on on the ship as well,” Modly said. “It raised alarm bells unnecessarily.”
Citing an “ongoing and accelerating” danger on board the carrier, Crozier sent his Navy superiors the memo pleading, “We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die.” He called for removing all but a skeleton crew from the carrier, where sailors are in close quarters, so that they can be isolated and tested.
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