US Navy won’t reinstate fired commander of USS Theodore Roosevelt

The US Navy announced that it will not reinstate the fired commander of nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt.

“I will not re-assign Captain Brett Crozier as the commanding officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, nor will he be eligible for future command,” Chief of Naval Operations Mike Gilday told reporters at the Pentagon on Friday.

Crozier was removed from his post in early April after a letter he wrote pleading for help with a coronavirus outbreak on the USS Theodore Roosevelt was leaked to the media, reports Xinhua news agency.

A preliminary probe by the Navy recommended that Crozier be reinstated but Gilday said he has changed his mind after what he called a “much broader, deeper investigation”.

“Had I known then what I know today, I would have not made the recommendation to re-instate Captain Crozier,” Gilday said.

“Moreover, if Captain Crozier were still in command today, I would be relieving him.”

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper “believes the investigation to be thorough, fair”, and supports the Navy’s decisions based on the findings, Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman tweeted.

Crozier, in his letter, warned at that time of dire consequences if the outbreak on the ship was not handled quickly.

“We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die,” Crozier wrote.

“If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset — our sailors.”

Crozier was swiftly fired by then-acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly, who himself resigned later after his remarks lashing out at the captain backfired.

Hundreds of USS Theodore Roosevelt crew gathered to applaud and cheer Crozier’s name when he left the ship, video on social media showed.

The aircraft carrier has been docked in Guam for two months.

More than 1,000 sailors have reportedly been infected with the coronavirus, and one died from it.