U.S. Navy Capt. Brett Crozier loved the 5,000 men and women under his command aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt. He loved them so much that when several of them tested positive for the coronavirus, he sent out an alarm to the top brass, which he declared needed to do more to care for the sailors with whom he served.
What did Capt. Crozier get for his demonstration of love and loyalty to his sailors? He got booted off the ship, stripped of his command. Who did the deed? The Navy’s acting secretary, quite possibly on orders from the commander in chief, Donald John Trump.
There’s no nice way to say this: Brett Crozier got hosed by the Navy, which he has served for 30 years.
Acting Secretary Thomas Modly relieved Crozier of his command because he reportedly went outside the chain of command. But why did he do that? Because the chain of command wasn’t responding to his pleas for help in protecting the sailors who serve aboard the nuclear-powered attack aircraft carrier.
So the highly decorated, highly regarded officer took command of the situation.
To be candid, this story gave me a touch of heartburn when it first broke. Then I saw the reaction sailors gave Crozier as he was leaving the ship for the final time. They cheered. They shouted his name. The din was deafening. They expressed their gratitude for the care that Capt. Crozier had displayed in seeking to protect them against the killer virus.
That is what leaders do. They care for the individuals who serve under them. They do not knuckle under to stiff-necked protocol when it puts personnel in dire jeopardy.
Acting Secretary Modly, dare I say it, is behaving like a political appointee/hack.
To be modestly fair, I should note that Crozier will keep his rank. That said, the man once slated to become an admiral likely won’t get the promotion he now deserves more than ever.
His career is probably over. That is a terrible shame.