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The U.S. Navy is considering whether to return Capt. Brett Crozier to the bridge of the USS Theodore Roosevelt after he was summarily — and wrongly, in my view — removed from his command of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.
Former Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly canned Crozier after the captain fired off a letter to the brass complaining that the Navy was not doing enough to protect sailors who had been exposed to COVID-19. Several dozen sailors serving on the Roosevelt had tested positive for the virus. Capt. Crozier issued a plea for help!
For that he was relieved of his command. His sailors cheered him as he left the ship for what was thought would be the final time.
Modly himself was removed from his post.
Now we hear that the Navy is considering whether to return Crozier to the ship he commanded and to command the sailors who revere him.
Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Michael Gilday’s spokesman said the admiral hasn’t made a firm decision … which to me sounds as if he’s leaning toward that returning Crozier to his former — and possibly future — command.
The New York Times, though, reports that Crozier’s possible return to the TR might face an obstacle: the commander in chief might meddle in this military personnel matter. Donald Trump already has demonstrated a willingness to intervene in a command decision. Trump has criticized Crozier already for the way he communicated his concern over his sailors’ well-being. Thus, he well might feel inclined to block a rightful decision to return Crozier to commanding a crew that clearly respects and reveres him.
I hope Capt. Crozier is returned to the Theodore Roosevelt.
The men and women would welcome him. What’s more, if the commander in chief is as devoted to the men and women who serve our country as he claims to be, he will stand aside and let Brett Crozier resume his command.