On April 3, 2020, Captain Brett E. Crozier, commanding officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, was fired for writing a letter to his superiors demanding more help because coronavirus was spreading rapidly on his ship.
By removing him from command, senior Navy officials said they were protecting the historic practice that complaints and requests must go up a formal chain of command.
Brett Elliott Crozier, 50, is a captain in the United States Navy. When he graduated from the United States Naval Academy he became a naval aviator. He flew helicopters and then switched to fighters. After completing the naval nuclear training program, he served as an officer on multiple aircraft carriers.
On March 30, Crozier sent an emotional email pleading for help, which was leaked to the media the next day.
“We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die,” Capt. Brett Crozier wrote in the letter.
“If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset — our Sailors.”
Two days after that, he was fired.
“If he didn’t think, in my opinion, that this information wasn’t going to get out to the public, in this day and information age that we live in, then he was either A, too naïve or too stupid to be a commanding officer of a ship like this,” said Navy Secretary Thomas Moldy who fired Captain Crozier.
Acting Navy Secretary Modly resigned on Tuesday, a day after leaked audio revealed he called Captain Crozier “stupid “in an address to the ship’s crew.
In his resignation letter, Modly apologized to the whole Navy for the incident.
Admiral Mike Gilday is currently trying to decide whether Navy Capt. Brett Crozier stepped out of line when he went around his chain of command and sent an email pushing for action to stem the outbreak.
Captain Crozier was fired unjustly and his only crime was putting the health of everyone on the ship above his career. Captain Crozier was willing to put his career on the line just to do the right thing which takes a tremendous amount of courage.
As of April 17th, 660 sailors on the aircraft carrier had tested positive for the virus and seven were hospitalized. With the virus spreading rapidly on the ship, he was acting in the best interests of everyone.
The Navy is currently looking into whether it should reinstate Captain Crozier. Gilday could decide that Crozier acted in the best interests of his crew and was unfairly removed. Then have Crozier reinstated as captain of the Roosevelt, which would generate a lot of support.
Gilday could also determine that firing Crozier was appropriate. Unless that’s overturned in an appeal process, that determination would end Crozier’s Navy career.
Whether he is reinstated or not, Captain Crozier joins a growing list of heroes who stood up for what he believed in.