Coronavirus: US Navy relieves aircraft carrier captain who sent letter pleading for help with outbreak

Superiors are said to have lost confidence in his ability to lead, but he will remain in Navy and keep his rank

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Thursday 02 April 2020 23:13
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Navy hospital ship arrives in New York to help tackle the coronavirus outbreak

The US Navy has relieved the captain of the aircraft carrier on which 100 of the crew have been contracted the coronavirus.

Captain Brett Crozier, who commands the USS Theodore Roosevelt and its crew of 5,000, was relieved of his command on Thursday after his superiors lost confidence in his ability to lead, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Earlier this week Captain Crozier sent a letter to the Navy pleading for help with the outbreak of coronavirus aboard the ship, which was forced to dock in Guam last week.

“We are not at war,” Captain Crozier wrote in a four-page letter to bosses detailing how the ship did not have enough quarantine facilities. “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 letter was leaked to the media putting the Pentagon on the defensive as to whether they were doing enough for the crew.

The captain’s pleas for help were answered and more than 1,000 people had left the ship for isolation in Guam by Wednesday.

More than half of the total crew are expected to disembark the ship this week, leaving approximately 2,300 sailors to maintain the carrier.

Admiral John Aquilino, head of the US Navy’s Pacific Fleet, told reporters that the plan was to disembark some of the crew, test and quarantine them, clean the vessel and then rotate them with those on the carrier.

Reuters reported on Wednesday that when asked multiple times whether the captain faced disciplinary action, acting US Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said: “I don’t know who leaked the letter to the media. That would be something that would violate the principles of good order and discipline, if he were responsible for that. But I don’t know that.”

Captain Crozier will reportedly keep his rank and remain in the Navy.

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