Hundreds of sailors aboard the carrier Theodore Roosevelt applauded as their commanding officer left the ship Thursday because Big Navy fired him.
“Captain Crozier! Captain Crozier!” the sailors chanted amid claps and cheers as their skipper walked along the gangway, leaving his ship of nealy 5,000 sailors.
“That’s how you send off one of the greatest captains you ever had,” one sailor said one of several cell phone videos posted online Thursday.
Capt. Brett Crozier, commanding officer of the sidelined aircraft carrier in port in Guam, was abruptly relieved of duty Thursday after copy of writing a letter describing the COVID-19 outbreak on the 4,800-person ship and pleaded for help from his senior officers.
Meanwhile, nearly 70,000 people signed an online petition calling for the skipper to be reinstated.
Cozier’s letter, which was first published by the San Francisco Chronicle, was reportedly sent up the captain’s immediate chain of command in a “non-secure, unclassified” email that included “20 or 30” additional recipients, acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly told reporters Thursday.
“[The letter] misrepresented the facts of what was going on,” Modly said. “Okay, that’s just not acceptable. … When I have a commanding officer who’s responsible for a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, with all that lethality and all that responsibility … that demonstrated extremely poor judgement in the middle of a crisis.”