Military leaders defend firing of ship captain

Defense Secretary Mark Esper defended the firing of an aircraft carrier captain who sought help for sailors because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Capt. Brett Crozier was relieved of his command for going outside the chain of command, Esper said.

By

National News

April 6, 2020 - 9:46 AM

Capt. Brett Crozier, commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), gives remarks during an all-hands call on the ship's flight deck Dec. 15. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Sunday that he supported acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modlyu2019s decision to fire the Navy captain who wrote a letter to his superiors about his concerns of the coronavirus pandemic aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt. Photo by TNS

WASHINGTON (AP) — With the military under broad pressure to step up its coronavirus response, Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Sunday defended the firing of an aircraft carrier commander who sought help for sailors during an outbreak as a matter of holding leaders “accountable.” He also said the matter was under review.

In two television interviews, Esper said acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly made a “very tough decision” last Thursday to oust Capt. Brett Crozier of command of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, which was docked in Guam, and that he supported the decision.

“It was based on his view that he had lost faith and confidence in the captain, based on his actions. It was supported by Navy leadership,” Esper said.

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