Even as he is hailed as a hero by his crew, the fired commander of a coronavirus-stricken U.S. aircraft carrier is being reassigned while investigators consider whether he should face disciplinary action, acting U.S. Navy Secretary Thomas Modly told Reuters on Friday.
Captain Brett Crozier was relieved of his command of the Theodore Roosevelt on Thursday after a scathing letter in which he called on the Navy for stronger action to halt the spread of the virus aboard the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier was leaked to the media.
But the backlash to Modly’s decision to fire Crozier has been intense. In videos posted online, sailors on the Theodore Roosevelt applauded Crozier and hailed him as a hero, out to defend his crew, even at great personal cost to his career.
“And that’s how you send out one of the greatest captains you ever had,” exclaimed one sailor in a video post, amid thunderous applause and cheering for Crozier as he left the carrier and its 5,000 crew members in Guam.
Modly did not suggest that Crozier’s career was over, saying he thought everyone deserved a chance at “redemption.”
“He’ll get reassigned, he’s not thrown out of the Navy,” Modly said.
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