I am struck by the rich irony of the stated reason for U.S. Navy Capt. Brett Cozier being removed as commanding officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt.
Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Mobly demoted Crozier for failing to follow proper military protocol when he wrote that scathing letter demanding more attention to his crew, some of whom are stricken by the COVID-19 virus that has essentially shut down the world.
Mobly said Crozier didn’t follow the rules set by the chain of command, that he should have gone to his superiors privately. Crozier’s dismissal, of course, didn’t set well with the men and women under his command on the Theodore Roosevelt. They cheered him loudly when he left the ship for the final time.
The irony? Well, there’s this: The commander in chief, Donald Trump, has no understanding of chain of command, which explains why he interceded a few months ago on behalf of a Navy SEAL who had been stripped of his Trident emblem over his conduct in the war against terror. Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher had been punished by his commanding officers after he was convicted in a court martial for desecrating the corpse of an enemy combatant.
What did Donald Trump do? He ordered Gallagher’s rank restored and allowed him to keep his Trident, which is the SEAL badge that the special forces wear with pride.
Trump blustered right through the chain of command himself with that reckless and, frankly, brainless act.
So now an officer who commanded one of the Navy’s premier warships is stripped of his command because he sought to bring pressure on the brass to do a better job of protecting his sailors.
Yep, the irony is astounding.