Acting Navy Secretary James McPherson has decided to launch a full investigation into the incidents surrounding the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) that led to the firing of its commanding officer.
Navy Chief of Operations Adm. Michael Gilday reportedly had initially recommended the immediate reinstatement of Capt. Brett Crozier, but McPherson has opted to delay that until a full investigation can be completed.
Crozier was fired by then-acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly for sending a letter outside of the chain of command pleading for help with a coronavirus outbreak on the ship in late March. The letter was eventually leaked to the press. Modly resigned following criticism of how he handled the firing.
Reports indicated that Navy leadership had proposed the immediate reinstatement of Crozier, but Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley disagreed, wanting a more robust investigation first. Navy leadership is now going forward with such an investigation, according to a statement from McPherson.
“After carefully reviewing the preliminary inquiry into the events surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), the Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Mike Gilday, provided me with his recommendations,” the statement reads. “Following our discussion, I have unanswered questions that the preliminary inquiry has identified and that can only be answered by a deeper review.
“Therefore, I am directing Adm. Gilday to conduct a follow-on command investigation,” it continues. “This investigation will build on the good work of the initial inquiry to provide a more fulsome understanding of the sequence of events, actions, and decisions of the chain of command surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt.”
The ship remains docked in Guam, where many sailors — including Crozier himself — have been recovering from coronavirus. Politico reports that there have been 940 active coronavirus cases among the crew, and one death. Hundreds of sailors have started moving back onto the ship in preparation for a return to sea.
MAIN PHOTO: APRA HARBOR, Guam (April 29, 2020) Essential watch standers and cleaning team conduct a crew swap aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt’s (CVN 71), April 29, 2020, turning over a clean ship to a COVID-negative crew after completion of their off-ship quarantine or isolation. Thousands of Sailors from Theodore Roosevelt were moved to local hotels in an effort to implement an aggressive mitigation strategy to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of the Sailors. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class MacAdam Kane Weissman/Released)