Captain Crozier’s Heroic Sendoff
Here’s a video of the farewell that sailors of the USS Theodore Roosevelt gave to their departing Captain, Brett Crozier. It’s really something:
— Tatyana (@_Tatyv) April 3, 2020
Crozier showed “poor judgment” by sending the letter by email to 20 or 30 people, acting Navy secretary Thomas Modly said, and he implied that Crozier leaked it to the San Francisco Chronicle, although he later backed away from that suggestion.
The view from his crew was considerably different, according to the videos that captured the moment he departed the ship, which is now docked in Guam.
“Now that’s how you send off one of the greatest captains you ever had … the GOAT,” a person says in one video, using the acronym for greatest of all time. “Man for the people.”
“This will require a political solution but it is the right thing to do,” Crozier wrote. “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 asset — our Sailors.”
In the four-page letter to senior military officials, Crozier said only a small contingent of infected sailors have been off-boarded. Most of the crew remain aboard the ship, where following official guidelines for 14-day quarantines and social distancing is impossible.
“Due to a warship’s inherent limitations of space, we are not doing this,” Crozier wrote. “The spread of the disease is ongoing and accelerating.”
He asked for “compliant quarantine rooms” on shore in Guam for his entire crew “as soon as possible.”
“Removing the majority of personnel from a deployed U.S. nuclear aircraft carrier and isolating them for two weeks may seem like an extraordinary measure. … This is a necessary risk,” Crozier wrote. “Keeping over 4,000 young men and women on board the TR is an unnecessary risk and breaks faith with those Sailors entrusted to our care.”
That man, Navy Capt. Brett Crozier, blew his own career to smithereens to get help for his sailors. I never served in the military, so maybe relieving Capt. Crozier of command was the right thing to do, for reasons that are not apparent to me. But if I were a sailor on that ship, or was related to, or in any way knew and loved a sailor on that ship, Brett Crozier would be a hero to me.
UPDATE: Apparently he is to other people. Daniel Larison has a roundup of people standing up for the cashiered skipper.
UPDATE.2: Here’s a link to a short take that argues that both Capt. Crozier and the Navy Secretary (who fired him) made the correct decision.