Acting Navy secretary resigns after criticizing ousted USS Theodore Roosevelt commander

| April 7, 2020

Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly faced calls for his resignation Monday after comments made to the crew of the carrier Theodore Roosevelt surfaced. (U.S. Navy photo by MC1 Sarah Villegas)

Well that didn’t take long. Is it enough to save his position is the question. After all, senior military leaders, Officer and Enlisted, are getting fired left and right for a “Loss of confidence to lead.” Flying out to Guam to personally berate CAPT. Crozier and the entire crew of USS Theodore Roosevelt is not what I would call good headwork.

Jeff LPH 3 sends.

Modly apologizes for remarks as key lawmakers call for his resignation

By: David B. Larter

WASHINGTON — Less than 24 hours after flying to Guam and igniting a firestorm of public criticism, including from key members of Congress, Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly issued a public apology Monday evening.

On Monday, Modly flew out to Guam and addressed the crew of the carrier Theodore Roosevelt on his recent decision to relieve the commanding officer, Capt. Brett Crozier, over a letter leaked to the San Francisco Chronicle that urged the Navy to remove the bulk of the crew off the ship as quickly as possible to avoid further spread of COVID-19 on board.

In his remarks to the crew, Modly said the issue had become a scandal in Washington and that if the CO didn’t think his letter would leak he was either “too stupid or too naïve to be the commanding officer of a ship like this,” adding that “the alternative is he did it on purpose.”

Late in the day, Modly issued a statement apologizing to Crozier and his family, saying he did not believe the captain was stupid or naïve.

“I want to apologize to the Navy for my recent comments to the crew of the TR,” Modly said. “Let me be clear: I do not think Captain Brett Crozier is naïve nor stupid. I think, and always believed him to be the opposite.

“We pick our carrier commanding officers with great care. Captain Crozier is smart and passionate. 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’ll keep my opinion to myself, and turn this over to the tender mercies of the TAH/VG crew. Thanks, Jeff.


Esper directed acting Navy secretary to apologize for comments ripping ousted captain: official

By: Jennifer Griffin, Tyler Olson
Fox News


Acting Navy secretary resigns after criticizing ousted USS Theodore Roosevelt commander

By Gregg Re, Jennifer Griffin
Fox News

Category: Big Pentagon, COVID-19, Guest Link, Navy

Comments (146)

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  1. Hondo says:

    Here’s my take on the situation, Mr. Acting Secretary – but I could well be wrong:

  2. Slow Joe says:

    Well, it looks to me from here, seating on my comfortable desk, that the commanding officer of that carrier panicked for a little flu on a non-risk population of young people while having plenty of medical support on board.

    The guy panicked, probably believed the propaganda in the media, and we lost a carrier, so to speak.

    • Hack Stone says:

      Well, Captain Crozier did test positive for Coronavirus. Talk about Voyage Of The Damned.

    • Firebase says:

      Seriously? We have 10,000 dead in the US alone, due to this “little flu,” as you call it? The Prime Minister of the UK is in the ICU, and you’re calling this “media propaganda”?

      • Slow Joe says:

        Well, isolate old people and other people at risk.

        There is no need to panic and destroy our economy and our country. The flu kills 30k per year and nobody bats an eye. Car accidents kill 40k a year and nobody is calling for quarantining drivers.

        If you cannot see through the bullshit, then you are swimming in it.

        Obama’s swine flu killed 12k and I don’t even remember that shit until somebody brought it up.

        So yes, overreaction.

        • Harry D says:

          Not only that, Odumbo depleted the supply of N95 masks over the seine flu – and never replaced them. Guess he gave that money to Solarcity.

        • Poetrooper says:

          “If you cannot see through the bullshit, then you are swimming in it.”

          You’re kinder than I am, Joe. I’d have added, “And swallowing most of it.”

          But then, Poe’s an ornery old geezer…


        • Poetrooper says:

          I forgot to add, Joe, but when you use terms like “panic” and “hysteria,” some folks around these parts tend to get panicky and hysterical.

          Just sayin’…

        • SteeleyI says:

          Yeah, that’s not how it works. Quarantining the at risk population means that the disease circulates through everyone else, and is there waiting when we bring them out of quarantine.

          Also, people do bat an eye over flu deaths- that’s why there is all sorts of ‘propaganda’ every season telling you to get the flu shot.

          The comparison with car accidents is now my favorite bad use of logic in this debate (surging ahead of ‘a little flu’ and HIV.). You present a false choice- for one, they aren’t caused by a pathogen and are not contagious. For another, we have taken several major steps nationwide to mitigate both the incidence and mortality of car accents, to include restricting how, where, and when you operate your car as well as mandating certain minimal safety features.

          • Poetrooper says:

            I do believe that’s a first for TAH, SteeleyI: advancing a defense against a straw man argument before it has even been presented.

            That kind of anticipatory defensiveness could keep a man awfully busy…


            • steeleyI says:

              Not sure what you mean-Slow Joe used both the flu and the car deaths argument, and someone equally astute used the HIV argument in another thread. All are without merit, all are meant to create a false choice- ‘yeah, if we quarantine sick people we should quarantine drivers’

              • Poetrooper says:

                My bad–missed the car deaths reference.

                Too bad–you don’t get credit for a TAH first.


          • Fyrfighter says:

            Actually, given that the virus dies after 72 hours, once everyone is past the contagious stage, give it another 72 hours, and the virus is gone.

        • USAF E-5 says:

          Have to ask Slow Joe. Are you aware of how close the quarters on board are? These aren’t dormitories. These guys sleep 6″ from their shipmates a$$. In berthing compartments with curtains. If you could find a more deadly environment to get a virus, I’d be shocked. (not really, they exist, they just shouldn’t.) Infection rate went from 9 to 100 in a week. Ship has 3500, guess how long it takes to knock 40% of the crew out? It’s exponential. My math isn’t great but I think it works out too 1k in the next wk, and game over the week after that. Now you’ve got to get the ship cleaned stateside by a licensed disinfecting union crew…during a pandemic. Instead of having the crews’ NBC crew take care of it. My only thought (and I didn’t think of it, my son did,) Why didn’t the Cpt just ship those infected by VTOL to Guam, or Honolulu, etc. and have the spaces immediately cleaned and checked. Probably, not trained.

          • Poetrooper says:

            The Navy has established protocols for dealing with bio-weapon viral infections that have been successfully implemented in the past, as I noted and linked to in an earlier comment.

            And according to the Navy’s Biological Warfare Defense site online, ships are required to conduct periodic bio-warfare drills, so if the crew weren’t trained, whose responsibility is that?

            Apparently the captain chose to deem the Navy’s protocols insufficient…

          • MCPO USN says:

            USAF E-5,

            Your slip(s) are showing. More like 5500-6000 on a deployed carrier. So 1% was sick when the skipper was throwing a hissy fit. That number is always sick on a carrier, from all kinds of causes. A smart man would have converted one of the berthing areas just for those who were positive for quarantine for two weeks until they were better and to prevent spreading. With 99% of the crew healthy it is still mission capable. A carrier CO needs to be able to THINK through problems and still accomplish his mission. The basic CCIR’s still apply but in my opinion were not met. He just proved that he would not do well under an extreme pressure situation.

            • PavePusher says:

              Once 100 personnel tested positive for it, it was already all over the ship and the people.

              Too late for quarantine.

            • timactual says:

              “So 1% was sick when the skipper was throwing a hissy fit.”

              That was just for starters. The thing about an epidemic/pandemic is that it grows exponentially. In a short time that 1% and 99% would have switched.

          • David says:

            Let’s go WORST CASE! Everyone exposed… from what I read maybe 3% dead, another 3-5% really sick, maybe 10% feeling pretty bad. The rest feel poorly or asymptomatic. Can a carrier survive that and be mission- capable?

            • timactual says:

              Survive? Yes. Mission capable? Depends on How well pilots can function with pneumonia. My guess is not too well.

      • 11B-Mailclerk says:

        It wont leave “bad flu year” territory unless the count goes over about 100k.

        Most of the folks that get this crap wont get sick enough to need a hospital. Many of those, perhaps even most, wont even need a doctor.

        This is -not- bad enough to wreck our economy and lose our collective minds.

        Folks are trying to ret-con -panic- into something rational.

    • SteeleyI says:

      The Captain certainly mishandled the issue. There are proper ways to report your concerns and recommend actions, and what he did violated all of that.

      Did he panic? I don’t see any information that would characterize what he did as panicking. Stupid, yes.

      Modley should resign. He will simply be ineffective in his role from now on, and it would save the administration yet another example of poor Navy leadership.

      That said, you make a few simply false statements. First, this is not a ‘little flu’. I’ve see a lot of simply ludicrous comparisons on TAH lately (HIV being the most ridiculous), but this one is demonstrably false.

      COVID It is a highly contagtious virus that can debilitate and even kill people. True, most healthy people will have mild and maybe no symptoms, but the fact that it is so easily spread means that if we don’t take appropriate measures it will definitely infect those that are at serious risk of severe illness or death.

      The last update I saw (3 days ago) showed that 44% of the 4,800 or so crew was tested, so about 2,112 or so sailors. 155 of these were positive, which gives you an infection rate of about 7.3%. Applied to the entire crew, that’s going to be about 350 cases- and that’s assuming they have been able to take mitigating steps, which I don’t think they have.

      There is probably a normal distribution of asthma, obesity and attendant issues like heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. The last data I saw showed the Navy leading the obesity epidemic at 22% of Sailors. That would give us at least 70 Sailors automatically in the risk category. There are also a large number of hard to replace Chiefs, Warrant, and Commissioned officers that are in their ’50s, who would be at higher risk of complications.

      The TR doesn’t have ‘plenty of medical support on board.’ I know all ships are different, but according the fleet medical pocket reference

      Navy Medical Site

      a CVN will have one Operating Room, 3 ICU beds, and 52 ward beds. They have 5 docs and 47 Corpsmen and a handful of nurses. It is also the primary exact facility for the CSG, and is by design a Role 2 facility, meaning every ship in the CSG evacuates patients to the carrier, which stabilizes them and evacuates them to a more capable facility, probably ashore.

      Show me the propaganda- where is the US government deliberately misleading its own people? I haven’t seen any. I have seen an abundance of caution, which I think is appropriate to a point. There are some tough decisions ahead.

      With regard to tough decisions, the Navy is doing exactly what Crozier called for in his letter. In other words, Navy leadership ultimately decided he was right.

      • Fyrfighter says:

        Slight correction to your numbers Steeleyl, you state “The last update I saw (3 days ago) showed that 44% of the 4,800 or so crew was tested, so about 2,112 or so sailors. 155 of these were positive, which gives you an infection rate of about 7.3%. Applied to the entire crew, that’s going to be about 350 cases-” your stated infection rate of 7.3% assumes a similar rate of positives among those still untested. While not wholly unreasonable, it would be just as reasonable to assume they’ve tested all those likely exposed, and the other 56% have few or now positives, which would drop the rate in half. The reality is that until all members are tested, we won’t know the actual numbers. otherwise, good info in your post.

        • timactual says:

          Kinda pointless to correct numbers. They are all crap and will change daily and you will wear yourself out making corrections.

      • Mason says:

        He said “believed the propaganda in the media”, not government propaganda. If you watch the MSM you’ll think that this is the end times and we’re all minutes away from an excruciating death.

      • NHSparky says:

        There is probably a normal distribution of asthma, obesity and attendant issues like heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes

        GCE, -10 points. Not only do physical screenings for such (disqualifying) conditions occur at accession (aka MEPS and/or boot camp), but also during training and sea duty screenings, along with regular physicals for those in critical field such as nukes, flight crews, and so on.

        IOW, the percentage of at-risk persons would be minimal compared to the civilian population. Also, the number of persons over age 50 would be a very small percentage (at most 1-2%) of total crew size. Finally, obesity in military terms is actually MORE restrictive than civilian population, meaning the chances of undiagnosed disease such as COPD, diabetes, etc., along with regular screenings to detect disqualifying conditions, would again be virtually nil.

        Even assuming the entire carrier population came down with it, the risk factors and death rates in the age groups known thus far would likely result in minimal deaths.

        IOW, there was probably a longer clap line coming out of Vietnam than there would have been COVID-19, and trust me, no CO has ever had to take his ship/submarine/squadron out of commission because too many guys got the drippy dick.

        • SteelyI says:

          …and many of these Sailors have been under the strict dietary and physical fitness regimen of the Navy for years, resulting in the 22% obesity rate in the service. I’m not comparing that to the civilian population, I am going with the Navy’s numbers.

          Also, ‘normal distribution’ is a term from probability and statistics. Among Sailors on a carrier, the distribution of those conditions can be graphed on a curve, some at the high end, some at the low end, most in the middle. Again, not comparing to the civilian world.

          Have you ever worked accessions or recruiting and initial military training? A significant portion of those sailors got in on waivers or developed those conditions later in life- in other words, you will probably have a lot of unhealthy Petty Officers and mid grade officers in that boat. Living in a Navy town, I will say that anecdotal evidence supports that theory. Don’t get me started on the Chiefs.

          I have a buddy who just left command of a Destroyer, and he had sailors collapsing on watch because their heart couldn’t take the number of Ripits they drank trying to stay awake (after gaming away their rack time).

          Fill me in: what would would you say is the acceptable rate of preventable deaths on a carrier?

          Also, you are completely ignoring the fact that while ill, even if it is a minor case, the Sailor will be operating at reduced capacity.

          And, finally, there is morale. Right or wrong, these sailors are under the impression that their skipper was a hero, fighting for their well-being, and Big Navy, to include the guy running it, doesn’t care. ON top of this, their families are living in mold and vermin infested quarters back home.

          The AAR on this will be entitled ‘How to Destroy the Effectiveness of a Warship in 3 Easy Steps

          • NHSparky says:

            Have you ever worked accessions or recruiting

            Yes. Have you? And they’re not allowed to ship if they don’t make height/weight standards and/or bodyfat.

            Again, civilian obesity is not the same as not meeting Navy bodyfat standards. Granted, too many guys only ran 3 miles a year, but the overall population of Navy folks 17-30 are in far better health and physical shape than their civilian counterparts.

            Nice anecdotes with the RipIts, but hardly unique. Then again, I wish I had the time (or the room) to play Xbox when I wasn’t standing watch, doing maintenance, training, cleaning, doing drills, yadda yadda yadda. Stupid people making stupid choices is not the fault of the command, but if they had a goat locker worth a shit, they’d fix that most ricky-tick.

            Bottom line, again, even if a significant portion of the crew ended up with the virus, the ship would be far from combat ineffective.

            • SteeleyI says:


              Yes, I did accessions- meaning recruiting through initial military training- at the service level. As a part of that experience I did a fairly deep dive into how all of the services recruit. You have a few faulty points.

              First, for a very long time recruits that did not meet height/weight and body fat standard were allowed to ship- with a waiver of course, and the stipulation that they met standards by the end of training.

              Second, the body fat and height weight tests recruiters use are notoriously bad measures, not to mention (please, everyone hold on to their seats, this will shock you) sometimes recruiters lie to ship a kid.

              Obesity is obesity. There is an actual definition of it. Regardless, the study I cited used service provided data. Face it, there are a lot of fat kids in the Navy. The numbers I used were for Navy personnel on the ship- it has nothing to do with the civilian population.

              Third, kids get fat after basic, even the notoriously challenging Navy Boot Camp. That was sarcasm. I had an interview with the commander at Great Lakes once, and was surprised to learn that all Navy SpecOps guys and even SEABEAS did a separate PT and nutrition plan in because they actually got fat and out of shape in boot. It was causing them to fail down the pipeline. true story.

              I know it was much harder when you were in the service, last hard class, etc., but people making bad choices kind of is what leadership is all about.

              Finally, if a significant portion of the ship were infected it would be operating at a severely degraded level. That’s literally part of the definition of readiness. 10% of your personnel unavailable will bring you to an Amber level, or what USR would call P2. Factor in that your medical support would be at capacity, and the impact on morale, there are some serious issues.

              I’m just going off the word of the commanding officer and the actions of the Navy to do exactly what he called for.

              Again, you are trying to magic away the fact that this is actually a problem for personnel readiness on that ship and therefore its combat readiness. This is not ‘a little flu’, and a sizable portion of the crew would potentially be combat ineffective.

              I’m not saying they should have disembarked the crew, but some innovative problem solving should have been applied.


              • timactual says:

                Like your comment.

                “some innovative problem solving should have been applied. ”

                Innovation cannot be forced and is not available on demand.

      • Poetrooper says:


        “There are also a large number of hard to replace Chiefs, Warrant, and Commissioned officers that are IN THEIR ’50s, who would be at higher risk of complications.”

        I haven’t been aboard a carrier in three decades but I’d still have to say, “Not necessarily so,” according to these Navy demographics:

        As you can see, only 8.5% are over age 41. common sense tells you that year-by-year, end-of-career attrition ensures that most of that remaining cohort is in that 41-50 range.

        Other than a few thirty-year senior leaders, likely more than 97-99% of the crew would fall into that under 50 component with many at low risk under 40 and 65% of them being at very low risk under 30.

        I also don’t accept that health characteristics of the general population can be applied to military personnel. Better diet, cleaner environment, less drug usage, readily available/more utilized health care–all factor into a healthier, thus less susceptible, community. And that is even more true of those serving in most combat arms billets.

        Your citing of obesity as a factor is suspect as well: You’d be be hard put to find any morbidly obese individuals among the Roosevelt’s crew while they are commonplace in the civilian population and the ones whose obesity puts them most at risk for COVID-19 complications.

        As I said in another comment, as a former brigade CBR NCO, I have to believe there was a bio-warfare contagion contingency plan for the ship. Where was that in all of this?

        There is far more to this than what we know.

        • SteeleyI says:

          Common sense tells you that people that attain field grade officer and Senior Chief (let’s not even talk Warrants) are older than the average bear.

          Yes, the Navy is the fattest service:

          This made me laugh out loud:

          Better diet, cleaner environment, less drug usage, readily available/more utilized health care–all factor into a healthier, thus less susceptible, community. And that is even more true of those serving in most combat arms billets.

          The most famous drug users in the US military right now are the SEAL community, but that isn’t the problem. Alcohol abuse is what compromises these dude’s overall health and makes them fat.

          Yes, the chow halls and galleys all offer super healthy food. I ran two different chow halls as a company commander, and Joe ain’t lining up for extra servings of the veggie medley or baked fish. He is over in the short order line getting a burger and fries. And everyone knows that the best thing about being stationed on a carrier is Soft Serve Ice Cream.

          I think the pandemic outbreak covers the ‘cleaner environment’ on a ship, but your comment makes me wonder if you’ve ever been in a room shared by 4 Specialists. It’s generally worse if they are female Soldiers in my humble opinion.

          Look, you guys are all trying to magic away the threat here. There are far more unknowns about this than knowns.

          The skipper blew this in the way he handled it, but he was an experienced commander and fighter pilot. He obviously saw a problem.

          The Navy doubled down when the Acting Secretary flew a few thousand miles to tell everyone they’re a bunch of pussies and the skipper they loved was an idiot.

          Now, I wonder if he wore a face mask and gloves, because if he comes down with this it will be very interesting.

          • Poetrooper says:

            Regarding age stats, I’ll stick with the Navy demographics rather than your personal observations.

            As I said, the obesity is relative–the most at risk group due to obesity is the morbidly obese–show me some of those on a carrier. if there are any,the C.O. SHOULD be relieved.

            As for drug/alcohol consumption and its effect on physical fitness, I spent thirty years on and off military installations of all services all over CONUS following my own active duty and can assure you that the troops I dealt with were far more fit and healthier than those of my own time. And I served only in “elite” units.

            And don’t even try to blow any smoke at me that alcohol abuse is more serious now than it was when I served.

            Burgers and fries? kids will be kids but are you seriously going to tell us that young military personnel don’t eat healthier than their civilian counterparts?

            As for the skipper blowing it–at least we agree on that–see my comment at the end of the thread on similar outbreaks.

            • SteeleyI says:

              22% of sailors are considered obese.

              I’ve met lots of skinny alcoholics. I got it, you were next to a lot of really awesome people in your time.

              I did 22 years on active duty, mostly in airborne units, and I’ve been a DA civilian for 11 years since then. I’ve been in and around all kinds of high speed, medium speed, and low speed units, and I will tell you that no matter what you look like on the outside you can have diabetes and/or high blood pressure. The opposite is also true- the president is a big fat tub of goo and his numbers are rock solid.

              Regardless, you are kinda making my point. You were in the 82nd- so was I. I agree that it is an elite unit. The T.R. is an amazing symbol of national power, so in some ways it is elite- but it ain’t because the sailors in her are PT studs. Stop blowing smoke.

              I never compared alcohol abuse now to when you served. I’m saying it is problem now.

              The fact is that you have about 4800 sailors, a good percentage of whom are already sick, and a good percentage of them will be very sick. If nothing is done it will get worse.

              What should be done? I think we can all agree that an unclassified letter that can be leaked to the press is a bad idea, and flying a few thousand miles to call a bunch of America’s sons and daughters pussies was arguably a worse idea.

              Should they have evacuated the ship? I don’t know. Should they have brought in some additional medical and testing capability and decoded the whole place? maybe, I don’t know what that entails.

              I do know this: pretending its no big deal and accepting that only a handful of America’s best will die a preventable death is just unacceptable to me.

              • 11B-Mailclerk says:

                If we can’t handle some unexpected casualties in peacetime, we sure as hell can’t handle them in wartime.

                We have become -way- too adverse to training and duty hazards, thus are telegraphing a glass jaw.

                Folks had better learn that. Soon.

                • timactual says:

                  Everybody can accept training accidents or acts of God. Preventable deaths, not so much. I would never serve in an organization that accepted preventable deaths as just a cost of doing business. Nor would I exert myself beyond the minimum for leaders or organizations who were so casual with my life. organizations that

          • Hondo says:

            Common sense tells you that people that attain field grade officer and Senior Chief (let’s not even talk Warrants) are older than the average bear.

            Yes, the groups you cite are often “older than average”. But “older than average” is relative – and most of them will be south of 40, with precious few 50+.

            Simple math shows that. For commissioned officers, commissioning generally occurs for most at age 22 +/- 2 years. Pin-on for O4 occurs around 10-11 years TIS, give or take; for O5, around 16 give or take. Since there are far more O4 slots than O5s, that in turn means that most field grade officers will be <40.

            That also means the only 50+ commissioned officers on AD are likely to be (1) O6s, (2) FOs/GOs, or (3) a few medical/dental/chaplain personnel (different max age requirements and typical commissioning ages there). And statutory requirements regarding max commissioned service for most officers pretty much guarantees things will stay that way.

            On the enlisted side, most enlisted personnel enter the military at around age 20, +/- a couple of years. Let's say 20 for convenience on average. Making E8 typically happens a bit before 20 years TIS if I recall correctly. Doing the same math, and factoring in retention points/HYT, that means that there are going to be few enlisted personnel over 50 as well - maybe a few late entrants, a few with lengthy breaks in service, and a few E9s. The vast majority will be 40 or below.

            Even among warrants, most don't stay beyond 30 or so years total service - and most warrants initially enter as enlisted folks at around age 20. That means the vast majority of warrants will be <50 years of age - and many will be in their early 30s or early 40s (20 + 15 = 35).

            Bottom line: If even 2% of a carrier's complement is over 50, I'd be rather surprised. I'd guess the fraction to be under 1%.

            • Poetrooper says:

              Thank you, Hondo. I do believe my guestimate was that 97% to 99% of the Roosevelt’s complement would fall under that age 50 demarcation.

              However, once SteeleyI has committed hhimself to an opinion, it’s difficult to get him to rethink it, even though as in this case, he’s clearly wrong.

              • 11B-Mailclerk says:

                “Carrier crews are much healthier than the average US population” seems pretty self evident.

                • David says:

                  If you contend 22% of the Navy is ‘obese’… roughly HALF the civilian rate of obese adults. So you should see a corresponding lessening of serious cases, nicht wahr?

                  • 11B-Mailclerk says:

                    Most docs I have known would love it if their “obese” patients were just slightly over the military height and weight limits.

        • timactual says:

          “there was a bio-warfare contagion contingency plan for the ship.”

          What about a peacetime plan? I suspect the “warfare” plan has a heavy emphasis on staying in the fight (“business as usual”). Not really necessary in peacetime.

    • SFC(R) Blizz says:

      Did he panic though? that’s the words from big Navy. You don’t become a carrier skipper by being a dummy, panicly easily, or acting before thinking. What if the big Navy failed to address his situation with a sense of urgency? What if he was more concerned about his carrier being rendered non-mission capable with a crew sick and out of commission? What would you do as a leader if no one answered your questions, especially your bosses. You have to take care of your troops and your equipment. I’m not so quick to judge this guy. I think he was ignored because the Navy didn’t think the virus was a big deal. Then when it was, they didn’t know what to do. The stories I’m getting from guys I know still in the Army are incredible and idiotic right now. So when you run out of options and the safety of your crew is at risk, what do your do? Everyone already knew that crew members were sick. That got out before any of this happened. The NCO creed says “My two basic responsibilities will always be uppermost in my mind—accomplishment of my mission and the welfare of my Soldiers”. I always explained to my young NCOs that is your responsibility to find the balance. You risk their lives when it’s necessary, you protect them when it’s not. I think the reaction of the crew says everything. There is more to this story.

  3. Hack Stone says:

    “If calling Captain Crozier stupid and naive is wrong, I don’t want to be right.”

    Acting Secretary Of The Navy Thomas Modly

    • marinedad61 says:

      I hear the voice of Minister Arsenio Hall,
      in the Eddie Murphy movie “Coming to America.”

  4. OWB says:

    OK. Suppose that members of Congress and the command staff of big Navy accept his apology. So what? Did he apologize to the crew? They are who he most offended with his tantrum.

    Has he properly treated that crew yet for the medical issues somebody previously appears not to have treated, or at least seems to have not adequately addressed? The fact that he cavalierly dropped in on them tends to support the idea that the chain of command was not taking illness aboard the ship very seriously.

    So much for conjecture. As several have said multiple times around here, we do not know, may not need to know and well may never know the full story on this. However, we remain free to opine about it and draw conclusions base upon the incomplete information that we have.

  5. DUTCH in Atlanta says:

    Modly needs to be shown the door, and to not let it hit him in the ass on his way out.

  6. ChipNASA says:

    Dick and ballz, meet golf spikes.
    HOLE IN ONE!!!!!

    Stupid fuck.
    He needs to very publicly be thrown overboard.

  7. 5th/77th FA says:

    “…turn this over to the tender mercies of the TAH/VG crew.” Bwaahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

    “Who let the dogs out!” It ain’t over yet, just as it wasn’t over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor. Good luck Mr. (soon to be former) Acting SecNav, you prolly gonna need it.

  8. A Proud Infidel®™ says:

    Mister ACTING SecNav STILL has his foot firmly lodged in his mouth and the only sympathy I have for him exists somewhere between “shit’ and “syphilis” in a dictionary.

  9. Boat Sailor says:

    As a retired member of the Goat Locker, I am not happy that some jackass civilian decided that it was his prime mission to fly to the other side of the freakin’ globe I prefer to think that he was to give the crew a blast of shit about the Charlie Oscar. Concur that the aforementioned CO went “Whiny Bitch” (never go Whiny Bitch!) outside the Chain of Command, but giving him the benefit of the doubt that he was sincerely looking out for the crew. These are different times, and we need leaders, not Jackass Deflectors of Responsibilty (JDORs). The Navy needs a real SECNAV, not the “Acting” crap, especially now. Somebody should be in the bilges, until I goddamned well say they are done!

    • AW1Ed says:

      You can take the Chief out of the Navy, but you’ll never take the Navy out of the Chief.

    • NHSparky says:

      Oh, come on, Chief!

      How many times over the course of a career were you either on the sending or receiving end of the, “YFG” speech?

      This is just one more in a long line of them. But he should have known better, just like Captain Crozier knew better than to do and end run around his CoC.

      No winners in this pissing contest. Everyone ends up wet and stinky.

      • AW1Ed says:

        OK, you’ve triggered my acronym OCD. If by ‘“YFG” speech’ you mean a “Mandatory All Hands Ass Chewing” I think I have it figured out.

      • timactual says:

        I have been chewed out a time or two, but certainly not for something my superior did.

    • OldSoldier54 says:

      “Concur that the aforementioned CO went “Whiny Bitch” (never go Whiny Bitch!) outside the Chain of Command, but giving him the benefit of the doubt that he was sincerely looking out for the crew.”

      Going Whiskey Bravo is most definitely a career killer.

      As for the rest, this whole fiasco is shaping up to be a textbook failure of Leadership, starting with the decision to go ahead with the port call in Viet Nam. Could be the RDM, CINCPAC, SECNAV, SECDEF, and wouldn’t be surprised to discover if it was State.

      The CCP just got a real time demonstration of how to take out a Carrier Strike Group, with complete deniability, without firing a shot.

      Let the finger pointing begin.

      As a side note, I would really be interested to find WHO has been making these staff recommendations to POTUS for the last 3+ years.

      Who is this Modly bozo?

    • SteeleyI says:

      Well, he’s not some jackass civilian, he is the ultimate authority in all things pertaining to the Department of the Navy, duly appointed by the president.

      Or was. Now there will be some equally awesome dude appointed, probably on the merits of their willingness to kiss the president’s ass.

      Who knows, maybe it will be Jared Kushner. He’s just as qualified for that job as he was for MidEast Peace Envoy and Corona Fixer.

    • SFC (R) Blizz says:

      He didn’t leak it, someone who received the email did. He’s being punished for sending an email requesting assistance on an unsecured line. His boss said he should have known it would get leaked. OK, what about the guy that leaked it? it was sent 12 people I believe. Those 12 should have been trusted senior officers in the Navy. Shouldn’t be that hard to find out who it was. I still believe we are not getting the whole story. I’d disagree that he was a Whiney Bitch. What if his concerns were with the readiness of his crew to conduct operations as long as the infected members of the crew remained on-board? What if big Navy had no clue what to do with them?

      • 11B-Mailclerk says:

        Inappropriate channel for info that is not for unsecure channels.

        That right there is a major problem. It was a spill the moment he composed the email on that platform.

  10. Ex-PH2 says:


  11. Slow Joe says:

    Right now in the chicom navy, a group of admirals are extremely surprised of how easy it was to take an American carrier out of the fight, with a little flu.

    Their war plans and time tables to the final showdown will be adjusted accordingly.

    • Poetrooper says:

      Which has been my thinking all along.

      As the former Staff Chemical, Biological and Radiological Warfare NCO for an infantry brigade in the 82d Airborne, I simply cannot believe the Roosevelt and every other combat vessel in the US Navy doesn’t have a contingency plan in place to contain and contend with a biological outbreak that would allow for the ship to remain on station and to continue the mission.

      If, as I would hope, such a plan does exist, why didn’t Captain Crozier, or more appropriately, RADM Baker, follow the plan, especially in light of the fact that they were dealing with a low lethality threat?

      Now that the Chinese, as well as other bad actors, have seen how vulnerable our ships are, you can bet the farm they are implementing this knowledge into future war planning and terrorist attacks.

      Whatever else you can say about Captain Crozier, he has singlehandedly put bio-warfare back on the front burner for the bad guys.

      • SFC D says:

        I’m absolutely sure there’s a plan, and e-mailing 20+ people wasn’t even vaguely mentioned. Nor was SECNAV’s catastrophic head gasket failure. 2 epic failures. What’s next?

        • NHSparky says:

          Careful. Some may take that as a challenge.

          • Inbred Redneck says:

            May? I’d say the “may” is like sayin’ that Round Ranger “may” show up at half-price night at the all-you-can-eat buffet.

      • Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

        Maybe the reality is that the plan is either non-operational or no longer in place, and with the recent deaths in collisions being career enders perhaps he considered how he might explain remaining on mission while losing 1-3% of his crew to an illness that overwhelmed his sick bay within a week or two of crew infections…

        I don’t know the whole story with the line of communication, if I did I’d be more comfortable being definitive in a response.

        I can see if he stayed at sea on mission and 10-15 sailors died from the virus this very forum might be calling for his dismissal for recklessly endangering their lives during peacetime.

        His position no matter which way he went seems somewhat untenable.

        • Poetrooper says:

          “I can see if he stayed at sea on mission and 10-15 sailors died from the virus this very forum might be calling for his dismissal for recklessly endangering their lives during peacetime.”

          I partially agree, VOV–but those calls for dismissal would be coming from the same individuals who are now praising his unprofessional behavior.

          • NHSparky says:

            Makes ya wonder what those same morons would say if they found out about the times a submarine would be doing a patrol or spec op and someone died. SOP was to stick em in the freezer and keep on keeping on.

            Almost happened on my boat once, but doc kept the guy alive long enough to where we could come off station and get him medivaced.

            Mom/dad died? Had one case where CO told the guy when it happened, another didn’t find out till we pulled in a month later. Wife skip out on ya? Holy shit, don’t get me started.

            • timactual says:

              “where we could come off station”

              You altered the sacred Mission/schedule just to save a life??

          • timactual says:

            And for the same reason.

      • Commissar says:

        The Chinese have been able to take out a US aircraft carrier with conventional weapons for more than a decade.

        Without having to commit a war crime.

        Or worrying about the virus the unleashed reaching their shores.

        • NHSparky says:

          Dear Dipshit,

          Google, “USS AMERICA” and get back to us, mkay?

          • SteeleyI says:

            I did, and I don’t see your point.

            Commissar’s point is that the Chinese, time now, have a very impressive Anti-Access/Area Denial network that includes the capability to fire hypersonic missiles over the horizon, and the space capabilities to provide very precise targeting.

            In other words, many military thinkers are firmly convinced that the age of the aircraft carrier in great power competition is over. The thinking is the will still be useful in what’s called offshore balancing of lesser powers, but almost useless against a peer competitor like China.

            • NHSparky says:

              They don’t have that capability.

              And at present, nothing short of a nuke is bringing down a carrier.

              The PLN might be a good coastal defense force, but they’re a generation, if not more, away from being able to project power anywhere near on par with us.

              • Poetrooper says:

                “And at present, nothing short of a nuke is bringing down a carrier.”

                Not according to the “Crozier Doctrine” which demonstrates that one of the most powerful and lethal weapons systems in the world can be rendered hors de combat by a Chinese virus.

                • timactual says:

                  No, not “hors de combat”! Hors de schedule/itinerary, maybe. I am puzzled that you and others cannot see a difference in peacetime and wartime behavior. Or the possibility that the TR would have been hors de combat even without returning to Guam.

              • Commissar says:

                They do have the ability, sparky.

                It was a national defense priority development for them, and a that capability is a cornerstone of their entire strategy for dealing with the US in the region.

                In fact it is already accepted by the Pentagon that in the event of conflict with China US carrier groups would need to remain at least 1000NM from the Chinese coast.

                All the saber rattling, defense capability releases, and white papers arguing that our carrier groups are better defended then ever is just deterrence posturing.

                They are vulnerable, the US knows they are vulnerable, and China knows they are vulnerable.

                They are still our greatest tool for projecting force anywhere in the world. Particularly since nation state would dare attack them, vulnerable or not, because it would lead to a full scale war with the most powerful military on the planet.

                That is ultimately what protects our carriers.

                And despite the constant China threat fear mongering you and a few other anachronists like to spout on this board, China has no desire to have a conflict with the US.

                They are willing to go to war over Taiwan. But to the Chinese mind that has nothing to do with US-Chinese relations. To China the Taiwan issue is an internal domestic political problem. They don’t think the US should even be part of their political calculus but accept that the US has put themselves into the equation.

                And they have no desire to let a conflict over Taiwan lead to a full scale war between the US and China.

                In fact their strategy for Taiwan in the event of a conflict due to Taiwanese efforts at independence is not to defend Chinese control over it. Their strategy is utterly obliterating Taiwan so there is nothing left for China and the US to fight about.

                • NHSparky says:

                  In fact it is already accepted by the Pentagon that in the event of conflict with China US carrier groups would need to remain at least 1000NM from the Chinese coast.

                  Might I suggest you learn to 1–stop reading shit sites like Reddit, and 2–look at a map?

                  So you’re trying to tell me we’d give up the Korean peninsula, Oki, most of the PI, and a good chunk of Japan, including Sasebo?

                  You’re more full of shit than usual.

                  • Commissar says:

                    That is nonsense.

                    Not putting a carrier fleet within 1000nm does none of those things.

                    China does not have e capacity to project and protect an invasion fleet for Japan. Nor would it have any interest in the effort.

                    It also has no interest in occupying the Korean Peninsula. Annexing then northern half of North Korea during a collapse of the North Korean regime is a possibility. But they would attempt to achieve that using soft power under the pretext of a humanitarian mission.

                  • timactual says:

                    Also, try Googling “Chinese submarine surfaces near American carrier”.

                • timactual says:

                  Jeez, hard to believe I mostly agree with you. You must be learning. 😛

              • SteeleyI says:

                First, the Chinese have nukes.

                Second, you really need to catch up on your reading. China can definitely take out a carrier, and while we do have to project power into the Pacific, they are operating in their own backyard, or at least their neighbors backyard, but thanks to BRI they have bases there, too.

                Any CSG getting within range of Chinese shore batteries to do any good (and remember they are mobile) would have to weight the risk of the strike capability of the CSG against the risk of losing a major surface combatant, the carrier among them. Between hypersonics, CDCMs, drone swarms, or all of the above, the risk is real and significant.

                The question is whether or not taking out a carrier is a good idea… some in China think that the US is casualty averse and will cede the pacific if they kill 5,000-ish Americans (double that if they can get two carriers), others think it would ‘when the sleeping giant’, so to speak. Of course, we aren’t really the sleeping giant we used to be.

                The Chinese aren’t out to take over the world, and their strategy is much more subtle and longer term than Western strategy. The US doesn’t really have a strategy in the classic sense, and we are playing checkers while they play Go.

                • Poetrooper says:

                  “First, the Chinese have nukes.”

                  Well, gee, so do we. What the Chinese really have an abundance of, however, is metropolitan areas chock-a-block full of more modern skyscrapers (spelled sitting ducks) than any other nation.

                  Wiki List of Cities Link

                  And while carriers may be sitting ducks as well, we only have three or four in range of China’s nuclear capabilities, while ALL those Chinese cities with ALL those skyscrapers are within range of ours.

                  Think maybe the Chinese have done that math?

                  • 11B-Mailclerk says:

                    It is almost as if someone was saying “we can’t beat the ChiComs. Let them win.”


                    We can, and will, defeat them.

                    They have critical flaws inherent to their chosen political/economic systems. We can and should exploit those.

                    “We win. They lose.” is a key concept.

              • timactual says:

                ” nothing short of a nuke is bringing down a carrier.”

                I am sure the same was said of Forrestal pre-1967.

      • timactual says:

        “that would allow for the ship to remain on station and to continue the mission.”

        What was this sacred Mission/schedule that must not be altered? Another port visit to some country to show our “presence”?

        “they were dealing with a low lethality threat?”

        Defined as….? Using whose numbers?

        “… he has singlehandedly put bio-warfare back on the front burner for the bad guys.”

        Geez, man. Chill. It’s not like the Chinese, and others, don’t already research bio weapons. Probably at Wuhan. I may be alone in this, but I give the Chinese credit for being smarter than believing this incident is any indication of how we would react in wartime. I doubt the Russians have quit researching bio weapons, either. Hopefully in new, safer, less environmentally nasty places than the ones they gave up in Xstan(?).

    • Commissar says:

      Not a “little flu”.

      And it has always been possible to take out the functional operation of an aircraft carrier with a highly virulent, extremely contagious, virus that can live on surfaces for 24 hours or more, can be spread through the air for up to 24 minutes after a contagious person leaves an area, is contagious but asymptomatic for several days…

      and nobody has immunity to it.

      Yes, that has always been possible.

      And still will be after this shit is over.

      • 11B-Mailclerk says:

        And, we dealt with Polio, Measles, and Smallpox without losing our shit. All of which are -much- worse than the current “flu” levels of illness and death. We still haven’t reached “bad flu” results.

    • timactual says:

      ” how easy it was to take an American carrier out of the fight…”

      What fight? When did we go to war?

  12. Mason says:

    Looks like Modly can act himself right into a new job.

  13. Doc Savage says:

    Apparently, if this recording is to be believed, one of the Sailors took offense to the acting SecNavs comments and didnt hold back…..

    • NHSparky says:

      Yawn. Not the first time, not the last.

      One larger command I was attached to had Captain’s Call on CCTV every Friday. There the CO and CMC did awards, news etc.
      The Command Master Chief had the reading ability of a retarded slug, and that was being kind. Word had it his own Goat Locker got him Hooked on Phonics for Xmas one year. Even practicing reading the awards, etc., it was obvious he was not a scholarly person, not that there was anything wrong with that.

      But the comments people made, oh, dear God.

  14. Graybeard says:

    Stupid is as stupid does.

    And Modly has gone full retard.

    Hope that Captain Crozier has his ‘retirement’ rethought.
    I’m not in his shoes, and don’t know all the details, but I found out a long, long time ago that the guy in charge doesn’t always have the support from above he needs, or the full information he would like when making decisions. Therefore, I refrain from playing armchair CO/coach/whatever .
    From what I have seen, given the situation at hand and the response/help he was not getting, he was trying to take care of both his men and his mission. A leader that tries to take care of his men is, IMHO, always to be preferred even if he goes Wiskey Bravo to do so.

  15. Bill R. says:

    We still have never been told if Capt. Crozier went through the chain of command FIRST, before he wrote the letter. They have never said who released that letter to the SF Chronicle. And, did the acting SecNav go back to the boat and apologize to the crew or did he email it?

    • timactual says:

      According to SECNAV himself, he and his CoS initiated several direct communications with Crozier only a day before he sent his letter. That’s good enough for me.

  16. Poetrooper says:

    Interestingly, this Roosevelt event is not without precedent–in Summer 2009, during the H1N1 outbreak, both the USS George Washington and the USS Ronald Reagan, both super carriers like the Roosevelt, had onboard outbreaks of that virus:

    These ships implemented their bio-warfare protocols and through masking, quarantine and anti-viral drugs, were able to control the outbreaks without discontinuing their missions. This was done in spite of the Reagan having 253 cases of infection, far more than the Roosevelt in the extant situation.

    There were also H1N1 outbreaks in 2009 on the USS Iwo Jima and, wait for it…the USS Roosevelt:

    “RESULTS: Shipwide infection control measures including strict isolation and active case finding were instituted immediately with affected crew members and medical staff receiving oseltamivir. The new case rates remained high for 14 days, but the USS Iwo Jima was able to continue deployment. The secondary infectivity rate was 12.0%. The absolute end of the outbreak correlated with arrival at home port and the ability to move patients off board.

    “CONCLUSIONS: This outbreak not only reinforces the risk for rapid spread of novel strains of influenza A in confined populations but also demonstrates useful strategies to mitigate the severity of an outbreak, including isolation, infection control measures, and off board sick leave when feasible.”

    It is also worthwhile to note that H1N1 was far more deadly to the young than COVID-19, meaning that the earlier outbreaks on the Washington and Reagan were potentially far more harmful to the majority of their crews than the current outbreak on the Roosevelt:

    Based on the this awareness that the US Navy has protocols in place to successfully manage onboard outbreaks of viral infections, ol’ Poe is standing by his assessment that Captain Crozier responded inappropriately, irresponsibly and unprofessionally.

    For a couple of the commenters here, that translates to, “He panicked and behaved hysterically.”

    • Slow Joe says:

      Excellent research.
      I wholeheartedly concur with your conclusions, Poe.

    • OldSoldier54 says:

      This would appear to nail the lid on the coffin containing CPT Crozier’s career.

      • rgr769 says:

        Our own resident commie cockholster has engaged his psychic powers, and he has predicted that Crozier will be “reinstated.” Which I suppose means he is convinced the Capt. will be given back command of the Roosevelt, or perhaps, another carrier.

  17. The Other Whitey says:

    I won’t pass judgement on whether or not Crozier’s actions were appropriate. I will say that it appears that regardless of whether the decisions he made were right or wrong, his motivation was to take care of his crew. It also appears that he recognized the consequences he would face, and chose to accept them. That doesn’t mean he was right, but he can face whatever lies ahead with a clear conscience.

    In his defense, I can see how the crew of a warship would potentially be more vulnerable to an infectious disease than the population ashore. Spaces are tight, “social distancing” is impossible, and medical facilities & staff are limited. Even without high mortality (and Chinese Bat Flu’s mortality, while higher than most diseases, is still low), this bug could conceivably get enough of the crew sick at once to seriously compromise the safe operation of a multi-billion-dollar vessel with a pair of nuclear reactors, more aircraft than most nations’ air forces, and a ton of stuff that goes boom. If over half the crew are either sick or caring for those who are due to overwhelmed medical personnel, how well are the rest going to be able to avoid crashing 100,000 tons of steel into something? Never mind combat effectiveness. So Crozier’s concerns are not without some merit.

    Not saying he’s right or wrong, just my two cents.

    As for Modly, not gonna judge the decision to relieve Crozier. Everything since then, however, was douchey.

    • OldSoldier54 says:

      Couldn’t state it better.

      Would be really interested in finding out how his letter came to be in that paper.

    • timactual says:

      “… is still low),”

      Eh. Hard to say with the BS numbers everybody is working with, and did he know it at the time?

      I was always informed that the priorities of an officer are, by priority–

      1) Mission
      2) Men
      3) Himself

      I think in this case Crozier did not think the mission was of such importance that it outweighed his second priority.I tend to agree.

      • The Other Whitey says:

        I agree. Crozier may or may not have been wrong, but I generally prefer a boss who errs on the side of looking out for his guys, especially if he’s willing to take one for his guys. The single most valuable leadership lesson I ever learned is “You owe your guys a hell of a lot more than they will ever owe you.” A leader who puts his personnel at risk is obligated to make damn sure the objective is worth that risk. If not, then he has no business putting them at risk for it. Any leader who doesn’t understand that has no business leading anything.

        I try hard to remind myself of that every day at work.

  18. Retired Mustang says:

    The Acting Navy Secretary has just resigned. After hearing his comments to the crew; he should have been fired yesterday.
    The lack of professionalism demonstrated by senior Navy and civilian leadership in this entire matter is an embarrassment.

    • AW1Ed says:

      Absolutely correct, RM. Title amended and an update at the top of the post added to reflect the current events.

      This one has been fast mover.

  19. Sarge says:

    Actions have consequences.

  20. 11B-Mailclerk says:

    For millennia, disease was the primary casualty-inflictor of War.

    More than guns, blades, bombs, or other mayhem, pestilence ruled the campaign.

    Washington had to deal with measles and smallpox. And he still won.

    We forget that at our peril.

    We are dealing with a bug no more dangerous than a bad flu. By the numbers, this is -not- a ship killer. Even if we hit 1918 numbers, we can overcome and drive on. We did just fine then. Folks may recall winning a war then? We didn’t quit. They did.

    Over-reaction and defeatism are ship-killers and war-losers. Our enemy is exploiting that. Some folks here are aiding that enemy effort.

    Harden the fuck up. Drive on. Never quit. Win. Victory.

  21. Herbert J Messkit says:

    Army guy here. Isn’t there an admiral on board an aircraft carrier as tf commander?

      • Herbert J Messkit says:

        The next question do they talk to each other

      • OWB says:

        Thought he was in the group but on a ship other than the carrier. At least that’s the way it is in the movies.

        (All kidding aside, thought one of you guys mentioned which ship he was/is on early on in this discussion.)

  22. Reaperman says:

    No more SECNAV vector emails?