Navy reverses decision to reinstate captain who warned of coronavirus outbreak on USS Roosevelt

More than 1,000 members of crew were infected with Covid-19 during outbreak

Louise Hall
Saturday 20 June 2020 01:00 BST
Coronavirus: Trump supports sacking of Navy captain who raised concerns over crew

Support truly
independent journalism

Our mission is to deliver unbiased, fact-based reporting that holds power to account and exposes the truth.

Whether $5 or $50, every contribution counts.

Support us to deliver journalism without an agenda.

Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


The US Navy has confirmed it will uphold the decision to fire the captain of the USS Roosevelt who warned officials about the increasing spread of a coronavirus infection on board the ship, according to a report.

Captain Brett Crozier was relieved of his duties in early April after his superiors said they had lost confidence in his ability to lead.

A US Navy official and a congressional aide briefed on the investigation told CNN that the recommendation for the captain to be reinstated had now been reversed.

The investigation concluded that Capt Crozier made other poor decisions in response to the outbreak, the sources told the broadcaster.

The findings, which have not yet been made public, reportedly said that Capt Crozier had been relieved of command of the ship but is expected to remain in the Navy.

Strike Group Commander Rear Admiral Stuart Baker, Capt Crozier's immediate superior, will also reportedly be held accountable for decision-making and his promotion is being put on hold, sources told CNN.

Before being relieved of his duty the captain had been urging commanders to take measures to stem the virus onboard and sent a letter to the navy that later reached the press stating that the ship did not have the facilities to cope with the outbreak.

“We are not at war,” Capt Crozier wrote in a four-page letter. “Sailors do not need to die. If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset – our sailors."

The Covid-19 outbreak eventually led to more than 1,000 sailors on the ship testing positive for the disease, forcing the vessel to dock in Guam and quarantine every single person on board in rotation.

The acting Secretary of the Navy, Thomas Modly, who later resigned, relieved Capt Crozier of his duties saying he had shown poor judgement by circulating the memo to up to 30 people.

According to CNN the investigation did not fault Crozier for sending the email and attached memo but for not having concrete facts, leaving off certain addressees and not warning Adm Baker in advance that he was sending It.

Several defence officials told CNN that the Navy initially recommended that Capt Crozier be restored to command of the carrier following a preliminary inquiry later that month.

The official looked set to return to command after sources told the broadcaster they were confident he would be reinstated, but it seems this is no longer the case.

Capt Crozier was given a standing ovation by members of the 5,000-strong crew as he left the vessel back in April.

“This is a necessary risk. It will enable the carrier and air wing to get back underway as quickly as possible while ensuring the health and safety of our Sailors,” Capt Crozier said in the memo at the time.

"Keeping over 4,000 young men and women on board the TR is an unnecessary risk and breaks faith with those Sailors entrusted to our care.”

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in