Navy Upholds Firing of Carrier Captain

| June 20, 2020


CVN-71, USS Theodore Roosevelt

Anyone not see this coming? Yeah, me neither. Gerhart sends.

…Who Reported Virus Outbreak

By: LOLITA C. BALDOR AND ROBERT BURNS

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a stunning reversal, the Navy has upheld the firing of the aircraft carrier captain who urged faster action to protect his crew from a coronavirus outbreak, according to a U.S. official familiar with the report.

The official said the Navy also extended the blame for the ship’s pandemic crisis, delaying the promotion of the one-star admiral who was also onboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt — concluding that both men made serious errors in judgment.

The spread of the coronavirus aboard the carrier while on deployment in the Pacific in March exploded into one of the biggest military leadership crises of recent years. More than 1,000 members of the crew eventually became infected, and one sailor died. The ship was sidelined for weeks at Guam but recently returned to duty.

The decision by Adm. Mike Gilday, the chief of naval operations, to hold both Capt. Brett Crozier and his boss, Rear Adm. Stuart Baker, accountable is a confirmation of concerns expressed by top Pentagon officials who demanded a deeper investigation last month when the initial probe recommended Crozier’s reinstatement as the ship’s captain. The official described the findings on condition of anonymity to discuss a report not yet made public.

The investigation, done by Adm. Robert Burke and endorsed Friday by Gilday, defends the abrupt turnaround on Crozier saying that the more detailed probe uncovered poor decisions he made that failed to stem the outbreak or properly communicate the escalating crisis to senior commanders. It also concludes that the ship’s slow response to the virus was not just his fault, and that Baker also failed to take decisive actions to address the problem.

Gilday’s recommendations cap a drama that has engulfed the Navy for nearly three months, sidelining the carrier for 10 weeks in Guam, and setting off a dramatic series of events that led to Crozier’s dismissal, the abrupt resignation of the acting Navy secretary who fired him, and the push for a broader review of the Pacific fleet’s top commanders and how they handled the virus outbreak.

The painful but only logical conclusion to the entire episode. Thanks, Gerhart.

Category: Coronavirus, Guest Post, Legal, Navy

Comments (14)

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  1. 11B-Mailclerk says:

    An admiral got spanked?

    Whoa. Someone took this seriously.

    • HMCS(FMF) ret says:

      Both got hammered… probably couldn’t work well together and it cost both of them.

  2. A retired Navy O-6 friend tells me that the report is not being released. Something stinks here.

  3. 5th/77th FA says:

    Business Communications 101. The Signitore of any document is ultimately responsible for not only the content but for who gets to see it. His fault, her fault,their fault, nobody’s fault, it’s still the signer’s fault. That’s why they’re paid the big bucks.

    Suck it up buttercups, it coulda been worse. You knew the job could get dangerous when you took it Pilgrim.

  4. OWB says:

    Well, well, well. Probably the best outcome any of us could have expected. But, will defer judgement to those much more knowledgeable about Navy protocol than I am. Sounds reasonable from here, though.

  5. Mustang Major says:

    The Navy is justified in firing Capt. Crozier from what I have read in the press. If Crozier panicked over sailors catching the CCP virus, and wrote a letter expressing his panic (which smells of CYA), and asked for the suspension of his carrier’s operations; he was going down the wrong path of command responsibility.

    Assume Crozier was engaged in carrier operations at wartime, and his ship was damaged but still operable, and his crew was taking casualties. Could the Navy rely on him not to unilaterally withdraw from combat operations and abandon his mission?

    Think about CV-5, Yorktown. The Yorktown sustained substantial damage during the battle of the Coral Sea. She was quickly repaired at Pearl Harbor and returned to the pacific and fought in the Battle of Midway. I don’t think the record reflects that the Captian of the Yorktown, Capt. Buckmaster, said that his men were at risk and shouldn’t go back into action. He was there when it counted.

    If you can’t trust a commander in peacetime, how can you trust him in wartime?

  6. Commissar says:

    Against the recommendation of Investigator’s.

    This was a political decision.

    Sycophants will sycophant.

    • David says:

      Just for fun, reread the second-to-last paragraph. Sounds like they came up with info with which you were not made privy.

  7. Retired Mustang says:

    secnavdotnavymil/foia/readingroom

    IMO, the SMO should be relieved.

  8. OldSoldier54 says:

    Well, well, well. We got a twofer.

    Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!

  9. Devtun says:

    RDML Baker’s fleet up to 2 star upper half has been put on hold by the Senate. Yep, it’s time to think about filing retirement papers, and transition to a defense industry position.