Straits Times (Sing):
Coronavirus: Pentagon removes captain of virus-struck US aircraft carrier over scathing letter
Captain Brett Crozier
WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The US Navy on Thursday (April 2) relieved the commander of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, who wrote a scathing letter that leaked to the public asking the Navy for stronger measures to control a coronavirus outbreak onboard the ship.
The removal of Captain Brett Crozier from the command of the 5,000-person vessel, which was first reported by Reuters, was announced by acting US Navy Secretary Thomas Modly, who said the commander exercised poor judgment.
Modly said the letter was sent through the chain of command but Crozier did not safeguard it from being released outside the chain.
"It raised alarm bells unnecessarily," Modly said.
USS Theodore Roosevelt
Over 100 personnel on the ship have tested positive for the coronavirus so far.
In the four-page letter, Crozier described a bleak situation aboard the nuclear-powered carrier as more sailors tested positive for the highly contagious respiratory virus.
He called for "decisive action": removing over 4,000 sailors from the ship and isolating them.
He said that unless the Navy acted immediately, it would be failing to properly safeguard "our most trusted asset - our sailors."
The letter put the Pentagon on the defensive about whether it was doing enough to keep the warship's crew members safe, and alarmed the families of those aboard the vessel, whose home port is in San Diego.
The carrier was in the Pacific when the Navy reported its first coronavirus case a week ago. It has since docked at US Naval Base Guam on the southern end of the American island territory in the western Pacific.
US Naval Base Guam
I had written in my previous two posts on this unique issue, that of the crew of an American naval aircraft carrier being threatened by Covid-19. We need to remember the complement of a modern American Navy's nuclear powered aircraft carrier is more than 5,000 - the effect of an epidemic onboard the close confinement of the vessel would be scary and quite unthinkable.
But nonetheless, notwithstanding the caring, careful and courageous actions of the ship's captain, he paid put to his personal naval career when he raised the unhealthy situation onboard. I am sure he knew the consequences when he chose to do so.
Those bureaucrats in the pentagon may even consider court-martialing him, such is the American paranoid of embarrassing exposure of its military.