Navy Fires Aircraft Carrier Commander

| April 2, 2020

USS Theodore Roosevelt and USS Vicksburg

No surprise here. Big Navy was caught flat-footed, made to look slow and inefficient. Which is exactly what it is. So Capt. Crozier, trying to look out for his Sailors had to go. His real crime- an inability to satisfactorily keep the COVID-19 outbreak on his ship under wraps until Higher could remove their opposing digit from their nether regions, and come up with a plan to CYA. That this would take time and potentially needlessly cost lives wasn’t in the calculus.

Skippy sends.

By: Mary Margaret Olohan

The U.S. Navy fired the captain of a nuclear aircraft who begged Navy officials for help for over 100 sailors on his ship who have coronavirus.

Capt. Brett Crozier was relieved of his duties after writing a letter begging officials to send help to the aircraft carrier, the Theodore Roosevelt, so his men would not die. Crozier’s letter was obtained exclusively by the Chronicle and confirmed by a senior officer on board the aircraft carrier.

“Today at my direction the commanding officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, Captain Brett Crozier, was relieved of command by carrier strike group commander Rear Admiral Stewart Baker,” acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly said Thursday during a Pentagon press briefing, according to CNN.

Modly said the captain was not removed from his position based on any evidence that Crozier shared the memo with the press. Crozier was removed from his duties for allowing “the complexity of his challenge with the COVID breakout on the ship to overwhelm his ability to act professionally when acting professionally was what was needed the most at the time,” the acting secretary of the Navy said.

“I have no information nor am I trying to suggest that he leaked the information. It was published in the San Francisco Chronicle. It all came as a big surprise to all of us that it was in the paper and that’s the first time I had seen it,” Modly added, according to CNN. “What I will say, he sent it out pretty broadly and in sending it out broadly he did not take care to ensure that it couldn’t be leaked and that’s part of his responsibility in my opinion.”

Another good man dies on the alter of political expedience. Read the rest here: Daily Caller

Thanks Skippy.

Category: "The Floggings Will Continue Until Morale Improves", COVID-19, Guest Link, Navy, Politics

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Club Manager, USA ret.

Seems to me the Captain was more than acting professionally in outlining a safe shore-based quarantine plan. I have a few bucks that says President Trump intervenes. I guess SecNav didn’t get the SEAL memo.
A leader’s first responsibility is taking care of their troops. Do that and most will take care of you.

Green Thumb

He did.

But in the Big Military, you cannot do what he did.

He would have been relieved in any situation for this. Especially with it leaking and making his superiors look bad.

I don’t like it myself, but them those are the rules and we all played by them.

Sad all he way around.

Club Manager, USA ret.

After obtaining more information, I agree. However, it appears his immediate chain of command did not share their plans or the Captain would not have gone off the rails. Given what it takes to be trusted with command of a carrier, I find it very difficult to accept he reacted because he was not being kept informed – because his chain of command was more concerned about negative publicity. Disappointing at best.


Betting the entire chain will have a LoR in their file and no go at the next promotion board…

Stephen B

How do you know what happened? Where is the JAG Manual investigation? That’s SOP in a situation where a CO has to communicate through unofficial channels to help save his crew from a potentially lethal infectious disease. Your comment about “them those are the rules and we all played by them” doesn’t make any sense. I’m a former U.S. Navy JAG attorney and he had two SJA’s attached to that carrier to help him. What happened? Don’t you think a formal investigation should have been ordered before taking any action against a man with an otherwise stellar Naval career?


Navy does not like getting caught off guard
One news feed that I get described it
As a sacking with a unnamed source
Saying unsatisfactory performance
Talk about being kicked and thrown
Under the bus


Quality of life, my ass.

When I was in, we had a saying: nukes are like fuses–use them till they blow, then buy new ones.

This is just an extension of that philosophy.


I don’t know if this is as much BS as it sounds, but it SURE DOES sound like it. If it isn’t BS, the Navy’s actions don’t make it seem like it is. Bad look either way.


How did this dumb ass snowflake ever get to command one of the most powerful warships in the history of mankind?


WTF is wrong with you?

I am starting to wonder if you ever served.

This sounds far more likely to be about politics than incompetence or being a “snowflake”.

Best I can tell he tried to alert his command that he had 4000 sailors at risk of contracting the virus. When the command did nothing and his numbers went from a half a dozen to ten dozen he leaked his letter to the press.

He put the health and safety of his sailors over his own career.

The snowflake would have been the shitbag who just let things play out and wait for the Navy to give him orders. Then hid behind some bullshit performative ethos of “sacrifice” and “duty” when the scale of the numbers of infected became known.


You tell me. Would you even follow a Buck Sergeant who said the following when times got a little tough in a nationally important mission in front of the most likely potential adversary (and then some how it all got leaked to the press):

“This will require a political solution but it is the right thing to do. We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die. If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted assest…”

This leader is in charge of one of the twelve most powerful warships in the history of the world. No more than 5 or 6 are deployed at any one time. Literally 20% of American’s forward deployed combat power.

How about this:

Send a factual status to the chain of command. Figure a way to deal with the situation and to continue the mission with 20% of America’s forward deployed combat power. Because we actually may need that power, sometimes overnight. If the C of C deems the mission has changed, quietly and quickly return to port.

This virus rarely kills the young and healthy (CDC’s numbers are well below 1% of those sick enough to warrant a test and are probablyin the 0.001% range for all young/healthy exposed). You have large amounts of medical personnel aboard and the assets of the entire US Navy to assist.

This is not some office in Scranton making mortgage loans.

Instead, what should have been a TS level status brief turns into an embarrassing public situation that has paralyzed a national asset because a few dudes got the sniffles and the Captain sh!t in his pants.

All in front of the Chinese who are taking notes.


Bananas, this pretty much reflects my thinking as my comment farther down shows. I think many here who immediately sided wholly with the captain will be rethinking and reevaluating their responses.

This is an OPSEC breach that could have devastating consequences, not least among them, the revelation to our enemies just how effective a biological attack can be on a key component of our global strategy.

As you pointed out, the Chinese aren’t missing any of this.


Four combat deployments. Three in leadership in combat units.

I have been in some crappy situations where hard decisions had to be made.

NEVER did I even think I was going to abandon my mission, missions where others were depending on me, because someone might get hurt. And then leak it to the press if I didn’t get my way.

Did you ever serve?

“I am starting to wonder if you ever served.”


Banana, I think you meant that as a response to Lars, not me. And yes, he served as an Army civil affairs captain which is a clear demonstration of the failings in that selection process.

As for me, I put in six years back in the 60’s as an Airborne infantry NCO in the 101st and 82d–got out as an E-6 on brigade staff.


Roger all!

“Stand in the door!”


Wondering how you make O6 without learning the First Commandment – “Thou Shalt Not Make the Service Look Bad!”


“This is an OPSEC breach that could have devastating consequences,”

I think that is quite an exaggeration. What makes you think the Chinese are not having their own problems on their ships? It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what the effects of an epidemic on a ship at sea would be. The Chinese are not stupid, and that particular question has probably been asked by several different navies over the years. Biological threats have been around for a long time.

Stephen B

Excuse me 2 Banana but when did you serve in the U.S. Navy JAG Corps. Oh, you never served as an SJA on a carrier command? Well, I did. And any action taken against a high ranking officer requires a JAG Manual investigation. You don’t summarily fire the CO of a carrier command because he’s embarrassed you. Crozier had a spotless Naval record. They don’t hand out carrier commands to just anyone. You’ve got have very very solid credentials and experience. What’s wrong with you?


“WTF is wrong with you?”

He’s afflicted with far greater intelligence and common sense than you are.

That’s what…


Your compass on assessing that broke years ago, Poe.

Hell, you think Trump is brilliant.


Nope, never said that, Lars–that’s another figment of your overly imaginative imagination.

Others here, who, unlike you, seem to have functioning memories, will tell you I was a reluctant Trump supporter who urged folks here to vote for him only to prevent your bitch from occupying our White House.

However, I have come to appreciate that unlike any politician I have ever known in all my years, he has done what he said he would. So yes, I will vote for him again.

While I don’t like some of his tactless ad hominem attacks I absolutely revel in his treatment of your pussy little pals in the liberal media.

Hell, you think Obama was a leader…


Poe – I remember him telling everyone that he was wanting Bernie to win and was going “BALLS DEEP” for him… until Cankles torpedoed that dream. Then, he was going to vote for Jill Smith… but he’d denied doing both.

He doesn’t understand the concept of voting for the lesser of two evils.


It’s a lost cause



Your rage was your undoing again. You appear incapable of self-control.

That rage prevents you from seeing your own error. Best fix that.

Or, you know all too well you are wrong, and rage to cover it and prevent admitting it.

Either way, it is your undoing.


Leave it to Lars to completely miss the memo and get it wrong.

Imagine the trust being the guy who feels running the media when the situation gets tough is choosing the hard right over the easy wrong must create in his unit.

I’m beginning to think his service was all on a FOB with the S1 and chaplain’s assistant.


I had a former Soldier, SSG, kept consistently screwing up so bad in Afghanistan so badly that they made him a Chaplain’s assistant (He did have a degree in divinity). Screwed up so bad that the chaplain recommended him for Article 15, and reduced him to SGT. He promptly stepped on his crank again, and would’ve left Afghanistan as a SPC if his tour hadn’t ended.


When the freaking Chaplain recommends someone for an Article 15, that individual must have a serious case of recticranial insertion. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before.


Yeah, that’s been the universal reaction.


JHC, so Modly fires a guy doing his job instead of doing his own job. Military leadership has turned to fecal matter since relying on political science instead of history for guidance. Yes, I mean all the way back.


The ship captain’s boss was right down the hall……. he was in error for having not shared his concerns, before writing that email. RDML Baker learned about it ONLY AFTER the letter had been sent.


You never, EVER let your boss get blindsided like that, at any level.


Bosses don’t like BOHICA… especially those that wear stars on their collars


I thought they loved learning about it by reading it in the news LOL


SO YOU’RE saying that RDML BAKER who was as you say RIGHT DOWN THE HALL..and IT’s A PASSAGE WAY NOT A HALL, had no knowledge of the SAILORS ON BOARD WITH THE COVID-19…WTF SHIPMATE!



SHARING HIS CONCERNS REALLY SHIPMATE..BAKER KNEW, ok his chops go on the DAILY SITREP that’s sent FLEET WIDE…HE KNEW THE SITUATION..HE, 7thFLT, PACFLT and the CNO left this O-6 and the crew out to dry…


Yeah, I jumped to a conclusion here. 20 people cc’d on a letter before you tell your boss down the hall. On the other hand, exactly how piss poor is that Strike Commander to be unaware of Covid 19 cases on board. Keep in mind, spaces on board aren’t like your dorm room. You sleep 6 inches from the guy above you, and same from the guy below you. A virus is going to spread like wildfire on board. Did he notify poorly, possibly. I’m not going to guarantee he didn’t notify people who did nothing. I know it happens. Did it myself to 3 levels of command telling them I’d take it to Congress. The 4th lvl, Gen said, “what if I order you not to send it to Congress.” I told him, “I’ll go over your head.” He said, “Ok, its done.” And that little 19m$ boondoggle ended right there. Along with my string of O7 endorsements. But I was a SSgt, what do I need an O7 endorsement for.


REGARDING “On the other hand, exactly how piss poor is that Strike Commander to be unaware of Covid 19 cases on board”. As I read that…. I was surprised you wrote that sentence. Of course he knew about it….. did you really think the strike commander would be on that ship, with all that illness surrounding him, the NAVY responding….. men and women being departed to GUAM, due to illness…… and think…. think he was sitting back, playing video games? The entire reason CROZIER got in trouble was because the USN was responding, they had a plan, and the STRIKE COMMANDER, would have been entirely involved in seeing that carried out. So…… your note…. well….. I’m not sure where you are coming from. You imply that the Strike Commander was not cognizant of the entire situation. Are you following along?



A Proud Infidel®™

Who fired the Skipper, some leftover 0bamite?


Holy shite. Does the Navy want more congressmen up their ass? Because this is how you get a bunch of congressmen up your ass.


Somethings wrong here, my guess, the Captain told higher ups and didn’t like the answer. Sometimes in Leadership you gotta know how to take it, dry if you have to, because there’s always a higher mission.
Who’s holding down the S. China right now….?


I don’t know what would feel worse. Being relieved for doing right by your crew, or being relieved by Rear Admiral Stewart Baker.

Rear Admiral Stewart Baker sports three, count ’em 3 whole ribbons. While Captain Brett Crozier has an 18 count rack.

How does one make Rear Admiral with only three awards?


Sparks… looks like he wears his top three awards (is approved in Uniform Regs).


Well, there ya go. Something else I didn’t know about the Navy.


Yep. Looks like +15 here.

Green Thumb



Yep, CNO Mike Gilday & Director Nuclear Reactors James Caldwell only wear top 3 ribbons on their official portraits. Seems mostly a Navy thing.


Don’t know if it’s changed, but the AF used to allow you to wear “all, some, or none” on the blues shirt. The jacket had to have all of them. Quite a few former Swabbies would wear the top three. I appreciated the simple elegance. Especially with all the “I was there” ribbons the AF likes to give out.


When I went from Army to AF in 1971, it was all or none on 1550’s and 1505’s.

P Bowes

Baker was ranked above Crozier


By the way, his name is STUART P BAKER – it’s misspelled in the news.


personal friend


Uhmmm. This doesn’t pass the smell test. What are we missing?

5th/77th FA

So now we got three different takes on it. I was over yonder reading the other linkys. Sounds like there was plenty of screwing up all around. If the Captain went outside the CoC, that was a no no. If SecNav was being a dick, then that is a no no too. Almost damned if you do, damned if you don’t. I personally don’t think the info that a bird farm was out of service is something I’d want the world to know.


KOB, I was waiting to see if anyone else would bring up the issue of operational security which was my first thought when this became news. It can’t make anyone in INDOPACOM or the Pentagon happy to know that the entire world is aware that we have a carrier air group out of service for the foreseeable future.

Since this pandemic has the potential to inflict major damage on our military operations, ALL actions and communications regarding its impact on operational forces should have been classified and unavailable to the bad guys in this world who might act on that information to this nation’s detriment.

The truth is, we should never have had the opportunity to be discussing this issue because we never should have known about it. Whoever took this critical information public, regardless of the purity of their motives, is quite likely going to pay a very stiff penalty. The problem there, as we all know, is it’s likely no one higher than Capt. Crozier will be held accountable for their part in making this happen.

What I’d like to know is why that good will port visit in Vietnam wasn’t put in abeyance, international good will or no. For damned certain the responsibility for that poor decision-making goes much higher than Capt. Crozier. I’d be inclined to look in the State Department for starters.

This is another dark day for the Navy, a service which has had far too many of them.


I completely agree with you on this..
Opsec all the way
How this made it to the media is a no brainer
And heads had to roll


Cannot disagree with your conclusions here, Poe. My concern is that we do not, and likely should not, know enough info to make sense of this.

Were any of us commanding a group of military folks who were dropping with illness to the point of negatively impacting the mission, shouldn’t we expect higher to immediately address the issue? If, and that is a hugh if, these sailors were unable to effectively do their jobs, the mission was seriously compromised. At some point the numbers make the ship not just ineffective but literally dead in the water.

No, I am not defending anyone here. Have no idea who leaked the info or which of the participants acted correctly. There well could be plenty of blame to go around.

Meanwhile, is anyone focused on the ill sailors? Have they all been treated and returned to duty? (We may not really need to know that either.)


Concur 100%. Did CAPT. Crozier feel his requests were being ignored, and felt this was his only course of action? Or did he hurdle the chain of command and go straight to the press? I have mixed feelings on this. All we’re seeing in this story is “Once upon a time” and “They all lived happily ever after”. Somewhere in the middle of this tale there’s a big bad wolf that’s being left out.

Jeff LPH 3, 63-66

Rear Admiral Stuart P. Baker Commander, Carrier Strike Group Nine Rear Admiral Stuart P. Baker Rear Adm. Stuart “Studa” Baker is a native of LaCrosse, Wisconsin . He is a 1989 graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Paper Science and Engineering and was commissioned through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps program. He is also a graduate of the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, where he earned a Master’s in National Security and Strategic Studies. Designated a naval aviator in March of 1991, his operational tours include the “Vigilantes” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 151, where he deployed to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Southern Watch aboard USS Constellation (CV 64). In addition, he served as the strike operations officer with Carrier Air Wing 14 (CVW-14), and returned to the Arabian Gulf onboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) in support of operations in Iraq. Following his Carrier Air Group Staff tour, Baker reported to the “Blue Diamonds” of VFA-146. While attached to VFA-146 he completed an Arabian Gulf deployment with CVW-9 onboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and participated in Operation Enduring Freedom. He previously commanded VFA-137 onboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) and CVW-9 onboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. Ashore, Baker’s assignments include the “Outlaws” of Strike Fighter Weapons School Pacific as a Strike Fighter Tactics instructor, Lemoore, California, and the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center (NSAWC) Fallon, Nevada, where he served as the Topgun executive officer. He also served on the Joint Staff in Washington, D.C., in the J-39 Special Technical Operations Directorate and as executive assistant for director for operations, J3. At U.S. Fleet Forces Command, he served as the executive assistant to the commander. As a flag officer, Baker served as director, Operations and Plans, for the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, N31. He assumed his current duties in June 2019 and is privileged to command the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group, which consists of over 7,000 Sailors… Read more »

P Bowes

He is a man on honor and integrity.


“Studa” Baker. Love it. Can’t imagine many under 40 know what a Studebaker was so it probably requires more explanations than it should.


“Golden Hawk”…I’d take one.

5th/77th FA

You mean like this one David?

5th/77th FA

Let’s try that again. Admin can delete that other one. Tanks!

comment image

5th/77th FA

Here’s an 1856 Model!

comment image


It would be kind of interesting to see his previous comms with his bosses, just to see if he had proposed a feasible solution.

If I’m reading it right, he basically wanted to abandon ship in Guam.

Seems very odd.


OPFOR has been tracking this since before the first case. And waiting to see our reaction. Which seems to have been, “wait, out”


Sailors stacked 3 high, breathing recirc air? Passageways that you have to scoot by shipmates sideways? Jammed mess decks open 24/7 during OPS? Water hours negating personal hygiene? High OPTEMPO limiting rest cycles? There is no place to quarantine or treat anyone with a highly transmissible disease there. Everyone on that ship is probably contagious now.
The SECNAV response to his request(s) for assistance should have been measured in hours, not days. Especially, when a National Instrument of Power was involved.
Nobody’s fighting that ship until it’s DECON’d.

Comm Center Rat

The Acting SECNAV was justified in relieving Captain Crozier from operational command. Now the SECNAV should demand Crozier’s immediate retirement from the Naval Service.

Crozier knew before he leaked his memo to the SF Chronicle that his career would be in jeopardy. He’s probably the most shocked senior officer in the Navy this morning. Shocked because he was only relieved of command and not forced to retire at a lower rank.

Crozier, as a civilian, can then write a virtue signaling book and maybe Paramount will buy the film rights. Tom Hanks will star as Crozier. But there can’t be any crying in the Navy!


Captain leaving the ship..
and sailors cheering on their Captain
with a clapping cadence.


It’s hard to tell, but would that constitute a public gathering of more than 10 people?


OOPS!!! Death by PowerPoint for the crew for that infraction!


They made a port visit to Da Nang in March, when COVID 19 was well known to be rampant in that part of Asia. I’m curious as to why they still allowed this to happen given what we know now.


That was my question in the other thread. Why would you do a port call in East Asia as recently as March and allow men off the ship?


I imagine that the port call was a geopolitical event deemed to be a necessity by higher ups. Would not be surprised to find out that there was conflict between the CO and an Admiral on whether this should have been called off or not.


There are so many bad decisions here. Let’s start with the former skipper. 1. He should have transmitted this info as part of his routine status reports- the skipper of a major combatant vessel reporting anything other than C1 would skyrocket to the top- and kept in classified channels, because public knowledge of the fact that the TR is anything less than fully ready seriously damages national security- the actual threshold for the classification SECRET. 2. Let’s assume he did and no one seemed to be listening. Mistake #2 was sending this up as a letter, instead of a what it really was: a proposed military operation. By treating it as a personal letter (that was not even marked FOUO) it was placed outside any normal OPSEC considerations. I doubt seriously that the CAPT actually wrote the letter. His command surgeon probably drafted it with input from the rest of the staff, and they probably coordinated with their counterparts at PACFLEET, etc. In other words, this was in the hands of dozens of people before he even hit send, and apparently he sent it to way too may people. Now, who leaked it to the press? Who knows, but they probably didn’t think it was a criminal act because none of this was classified. Now, to Big Navy. Two bad calls. 1. Publicly relieving this guy was a terrible decision. It simply highlights the fact that the TR is degraded and the Navy is doing a bad job of solving the problem, and it makes it look like they are trying to cover it up (all of which are true). 2. Pretending that sucking it up and driving on is a worse decision. It is almost a certainty that a number of the crew have underlying health conditions that could make COVID a life threatening condition for them. This is going to suck up resources on that ship very quickly. In addition, if the crew gets sick, the air wing will also get sick, and they will all be operating at reduced capacity. The Navy needs to face the fact… Read more »


Seems to me he was perfectly justified in sending his letter, and should have. He then should have been up the chain of command’s ass for a workable solution. Leaking the decreased readiness of the ship and the letter? Grounds for relief with a suggestion for retirement. While it does not look good to relieve him, he has essentially whined to the public that he did not get his way. If it was that bad, resign publicly and state why. Don’t leak like a little bitch. JMO.


I don’t disagree, but I don’t know if there is any evidence that he leaked the letter. So many people had access to it.

He should have kept the whole thing in operational channels, because it is an operational issue.

As the skipper he was right to raise the issues, and he rightly asks for a decision on one of two common sense courses of action. Again, we are talking about a military operation, and it should have gone up and down the chain as CCIR or readiness reporting, all of which are classified.


One quibble, both with your comment above and one of your earlier comments: the moment CAPT Crozier saw the letter in question and failed to put the kibosh on it, he had “screwed the pooch” bigtime. He should have never have signed it as-written, and the first time he ever saw it he should have taken measures to prevent it from getting sent anywhere until it had been properly marked as as a classified document.

As the TR’s CO, CAPT Crozier knew or should have known that anything indicating ship was degraded due to the impact of the virus was classified due to the impact of same on the readiness of a major DoD asset (you and others have noted that fact above). The fact that nothing in the letter was marked as being classified in the letter is irrelevant – the information remains classified. The TR’s CO doesn’t have the authority to declassify it. Marked or not, it remains classified.

Signing an unmarked document that contains information he knew or should have known was obviously classified, then apparently not taking measures to ensure it was returned to classified channels before it could be sent anywhere, constitute a major error or lapse in judgement (and arguably two such errors/lapses). Security breaches of that sort run the risk of the information being leaked by someone who either doesn’t realize or doesn’t care that it’s classified. And they can also be hugely expensive and time-consuming to remediate.


I think you misunderstand me. I think Crozier directed his staff to develop some options and put them in a letter for him to send out.

My point is that while he signed it and is fully responsible for it, members of his staff knew the contents of the letter and probably staffed it with their counterparts aboard the flagship and ashore.

This was the wrong way to go about this. He should have realized that compiling this information constituted a classified document, and that he should have therefore followed all proper handling protocols- to include markings, transmission via SIPR, and restriction to those with a need to know. Just because you have a clearance doesn’t mean you have a need to know or access to all information.

Because of the way Crozier chose to go about this, people downstream who came across the document treated it as it was marked- an unclassified letter, not even marked FOUO.

It came across on NIPR, most likely, so they were able to email to all their friends as something interesting, and someone, probably 2-3 times removed from the original distribution list, saw fit to share it with the media.

All of this event chain is Crozier’s responsibility. He should have known that his conclusions and recommendations constituted a national security risk and therefore should have been classified SECRET or Confidential at the ver least.

Either way it would then have been handled as classified information (there is no difference in the way Confidential and SECRET is handled), and it would have been very unlikely to be leaked to the press in its entirety.


We’re in agreement here. I was just emphasizing the fact that Crozier’s letter was a classified document, whether marked or not.

Content, not markings, determine a document’s classification. The markings are merely there to alert the reader that he/she is handling classified information as well as identify the level of classification and/or any handling restrictions.

Crozier had to have known that the readiness condition of his ship was classified information. The moment Crozier saw any form (draft or final) of that letter without any classification markings he should have said, “Whoah, guys – this is classified. Get it properly marked, and make sure it’s moved to the high side if it’s not already there. And if it wasn’t prepared on the high side, get the 6 involved – he’ll need to oversee the sanitizing of any low-side systems that might have processed this.”

When Crozier failed to do that, he’d screwed the pooch for precisely the reasons you detail. Further, he apparently compounded the error by signing the unmarked document (I haven’t yet seen an image of the letter, so I say “apparently”).

Saw a few roughly similar incidents (e.g., classified spills) prior to retirement. Let’s just say they weren’t pretty.


Exactly. The originator has a responsibility to determine the proper classification.

If it is done improperly, everyone downstream makes the (faulty) assumption that the originator made a deliberate decision to keep it unclass… and maybe Crozier did just that so he could publicize this.

Crozier did sign the letter, by the way.

BTW, this is similar to the Clinton e-mail issue. No, the emails and texts were not marked classified and were not carried on a classified system- but the probably should have been.


Thanks for the info re: Crozier’s signature on the letter. IMO, that means he was either grossly negligent or intentionally released classified information. Either is firm justification for a relief-for-cause.

If I recall correctly, a small number of the Clintoon emails in question were indeed found to contain at least partial classification markings. And based on what’s been made public regarding the DNI post-discovery analysis of content, IMO there’s no “probably” about a fair number of them belonging on a classified system.


A last point: if I recall my long-ago USR reporting days correctly, classification guidance for unit readiness data (at least in the Army) is specified by regulation. The unit commander can subjectively upgrade (or downgrade) the various areas of reporting, but must classify them IAW Army guidance.

I seriously doubt that’s changed in many years. I also will go out on a limb here and presume the same is true in the other services as well.

If that’s the case, then Crozier did not have the authority to declassify anything that would indicate the readiness condition of his ship. While he’s the unit commander, he’s not the original classification authority for that information. Rather, he and his staff were making that call using derivative classification authority based on classification guidance obtained from authoritative source.


Some commenters here may not understand that CAPT Crozier was not the senior officer out there on scene in Guam dealing with TR’s COVID-19 problems.

CAPT Crozier was CO of USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN 71), which is a subordinate unit in Carrier Strike Group 9 (CSG-9). CSG-9 is commanded by RDML Baker, who was CAPT Crozier’s immediate superior, so any external communications with ‘Big Navy’ about TR’s COVID-19 problems should have been coming from RDML Baker, and not directly from CAPT Crozier.

CAPT Crozier was relieved because he went around his boss and outside the chain of command with his letter, which in turn violated OPSEC and irresponsibly alerted the world to the fact that a strategic event was taking place in the Pacific, where a USN aircraft carrier on deployment was being taken off the line indefinitely due to COVID-19.

Additional information on CSG-9’s current organization for deployment can be found here:

‘Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group Departs for Deployment’—-The-Theodore-Roosevelt-Carrier-Strike-Group-Depeploys.aspx


You are exactly right. This is about the readiness of a major portion of US power projection in the Pacific, and decisions about this would be made at the PACFLEET leve, not even at the CSG level.

No doubt Crozier blew it by putting all of this info in an unclassified letter; whether or not he personally leaked it to the press is not evident to me, but it doesn’t really matter.

Again, this should have gone up as a classified readiness or situation report, and his recommendations should have also been proposed as an operations plan or conop, also classified, and forwarded through operations and command channels, not what essentially became an open letter.


“No doubt Crozier blew it by putting all of this info in an unclassified letter; whether or not he personally leaked it to the press is not evident to me, but it doesn’t really matter”.

I think that pretty much sums it up. His concern for his crew is evident and admirable, but his methods were 100% wrong.


What we do not now know is what transpired between RADM Baker and CAPT Crozier. How to deal with this matter was clearly Baker’s call, not Crozier’s. The obvious suspicion is that Crozier disagreed with Baker’s decisions (or those coming from PACOM) and went around him in a too-emotional, professionally inept manner. Crozier had to know that such a wide dissemination of his letter would find its way to the media. I suspect that was his intent.

Crozier may be admired by his crew, but his actions may eventually have imperiled far more sailors than those under his command as the Chinese and other bad actors around the world take note of the potential chaos to be created by biological contamination.

With this event being broadcast worldwide, every single sailor going ashore on future port calls ANYWHERE must now be viewed upon his return to ship as a possible intentionally contaminated biological vector. Worst of all, the microbe he carries will likely have been weaponized to be even more contagious and far more lethal than a coronavirus.


Wonder if the Admiral was still embarked or had gone ashore for his, safety…..

chooee lee

After reading this whole thing my brain hurts.

Honor and Courage

The Captain reminds me of a 2LT that was yelling and screaming at our 1LT Commander after an Ambush! He was yelling you have to get us out or they will kill us all.
That just doesn’t happen in the Jungles of Cambodia. Not to mention it freaked out all the new Guys that had to carry our dead Soldiers. When you lose Control you have lost everything!

Retired Mustang

A command O-6 with 28 years service; demonstrating such a blatant disregard for his COC is (1) purposeful and calculated or (2) inept and unprofessional.
Either way and regardless of his claim of concern for his people – his lack of judgement, failure of OPSEC and complete disregard of organizational protocol is difficult to justify.
His dismissal is not only warranted but I would argue – deserving JAG investigation and if appropriate – judicial proceedings.


Such an investigation could get very interesting if one of the findings turns out to be that prior and continuing concerns for the safety of the crew were ignored by higher.


That’s my thought. There may have been prior disagreements and disregard from some of his higher ups before this event. We just don’t know yet. The fact that they pulled into Da Nang in March, while this pandemic was really rampant, is a huge red flag to me. Why on earth would they not call it off? I think that we’ll find out more of the background on this in the next few weeks.

Retired Mustang

Agree. IMO, something here doesn’t pass the stupid test.

Honor and Courage

It’s been my experience that an 06 acting like an EIOU1 is not Career enhancing. I’ve seen a lot of Good Officers get shit canned for a lot less. Never Ever shit on your Chain of Command using the Media!!!
Port call in Vietnam! What the Fuck happened to Social Distancing. That was a Hugh mistake!


Actually, Vietnam might be one of the safer places these days re: the 2019 Wuhan Coronavirus.

China and Vietnam aren’t exactly friendly towards one another (long history there). For starters, that means there’s not all much direct travel between China and Vietnam. And Vietnam is also reporting a very low number of cases of the virus.

Though the veracity of their reporting may or may not be accurate, Vietnam is still a rather authoritarian state – and they may have actually acted quickly, decisively, and in a heavy-handed-enough manner to be effective. They didn’t observe their first case until 23 January – after word was out that person-to-person transmission was possible.


ate da fukk up…he certainly knew better

take your flogging cap’n, ya earned it


UPDATE – Capt. Brett E. Crozier,
the Navy captain who was removed from command
of the coronavirus-stricken aircraft carrier U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt,
has tested positive for Covid-19,
according to two Naval Academy classmates of Crozier’s who are close to him and his family.


Oh, the possible irony if he had the opportunity to sneeze on any who exacerbated this situation.


Readying a lot of comments here about who knew what and when…LET ME TELL YOU – THEY ALL KNEW…There are daily SITREPS that go out that are very detailed and the SOPA’s chops are them before they get released..
There are also, in specific case, hourly SITREPS and I can guarantee that if 1% of the crew was infected with COVID-19 there was a message sent every hour about the situation. I can also tell you with some certainty that the ship was on communication lockdown and sailors were not allowed to email or call off the ship…HOW DO I KNOW THAT? BECAUSE THE SITUATION WOULD HAVE BEEN PUBLIC LONG BEFORE THE CO’s “LETTER”…and since the ship was ON COMMS LOCKDOWN that tells us THEY ALL KNEW and were trying to figure out how to cover it up instead of ensuring the safety of MY SHIPMATES!