Did the Removal of Captain Crozier Violate Military Whistleblower Law?

Brett Crozier, fired US Navy Captain of coronavirus-stricken aircraft carrier gets rousing farewell from sa...

The memo warned that an outbreak of coronavirus on the ship - which the Navy was already scrambling to address - threatened sailors' lives because not enough sailors were being let off the ship fast enough in Guam, where they were docked.

US President Donald Trump says he supports the decision to remove US aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt Capt. Brett Crozier over the captain's inappropriate email regarding the COVID-19 outbreak.

Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly described Crozier's firing this week as the "hardest thing that I've ever had to do".

"And creates a perception that the Navy's not on the job, the government's not on the job", Modly added.

He also said that Crozier's letter was outside the chain of command and raised "unnecessary" alarm.

The letter put the Pentagon on the defensive about whether it was doing enough to keep the warship's crew members safe, and alarmed the families of those aboard the vessel, whose home port is in San Diego. "He is a hero who should be rewarded".

A Change.org online petition demanding Crozier's reinstatement as the Roosevelt's commanding officer had garnered more than 86,000 signatures by midday Friday.

"This decision is not one of retribution", Modly said.

President Trump on Saturday said he agrees with the ouster of USS Theodore Roosevelt Capt. It gives measured support to Modly's contention that Crozier improperly went outside of the chain of command with his denunciation of dire conditions aboard the Roosevelt. He said that Crozier, by his actions, appeared to be a patriot "just trying to do what's best for his crew". And the idea that the captain of an aircraft carrier would essentially disclose his crew's unreadiness is a legitimate concern. "Sailors do not need to die", Crozier wrote.

In addition to the approximately 1,000 crew members of the Roosevelt who disembarked at a US naval base in Guam earlier this week, another 2,700 are expected to have left the ship by this weekend to be quarantined in local hotels.

Modly said Thursday that Crozier was "absolutely right" to voice his concerns, but "it was the way he did it ... that was unacceptable to me".

Total U.S. instances of the coronavirus surpassed 300,000 on Saturday, with at the very least 8,162 deaths.

His dismissal was criticized by Democratic members of the House Armed Services Committee, as well as by former naval officials, one of whom told the Journal it came across as "not well thought out and done in a particularly perilous time for that ship and her crew".



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