AGENCIES, Washington: Captain Brett Crozier, the commander of USS Roosevelt, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier who was sacked by Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly just because he wanted to save his crew from the COVID-19 pandemic must be feeling vindicated.
The act by Modly didn’t go unnoticed in the navy hierarchy and political circles. Prominent leaders, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, called for him to resign.
“Sadly, Acting Secretary Modly’s actions and words demonstrate his failure to prioritize the force protection of our troops,” Pelosi said in a statement.
Modly flew to Guam over the weekend to speak to the crew of the aircraft carrier USS Roosevelt following the firing of commander Brett Crozier and was met with outrage from the vessel’s sailors.
Fearing more acrimony from all corners, Modly realised his decision was going nowhere and he had no option but to quit. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper accepted the resignation and promptly recommended James McPherson, undersecretary of the Army, to be the new acting Navy secretary.
“He (Modly) resigned on his own accord, putting the Navy and the sailors above self so that the USS Theodore Roosevelt, and the Navy as an institution, can move forward,” Esper said.
Modly also apologised for ridiculing the senior navy officer Crozier. “Let me be clear, I do not think Captain Brett Crozier is naïve nor stupid,” wrote Modly in a statement on Monday. “I believe, precisely because he is not naive and stupid, that he sent his alarming email with the intention of getting it into the public domain in an effort to draw public attention to the situation on his ship.”
“I also want to apologize directly to Captain Crozier, his family, and the entire crew of the Theodore Roosevelt for any pain my remarks may have caused,” he added.
While all this is happening, Crozier has confirmed that he had also contracted the virus.