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Navy Captain Removed From Carrier Command Tests Positive For COVID-19

Captain Brett E. Crozier (image via U.S. Navy)

Two classmates close to Capt. Brett E. Crozier, who was removed from his command of the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt this week, say he has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Crozier was relieved of his command for sending an email underscoring the dangerous health risks his crew faced regarding COVID-19 as dozens were testing positive for the virus.

“We are not at war,” wrote the captain in his March 30 letter. “Sailors do not need to die.”

From the New York Times:

The commander began exhibiting symptoms before he was removed from the warship on Thursday, two of his classmates said.

Crozier was fired following a leak to The San Francisco Chronicle of a letter he had emailed to Navy leaders that detailed the failures on the service’s part to provide the necessary resources to swiftly move sailors off the carrier and disinfect areas on board as the virus spread through the ship.

Thomas B. Modly, the acting secretary of the Navy, said he had lost confidence in Crozier’s ability to command the ship effectively as it dealt with the evolving crisis after Crozier sent the letter on an unclassified email system to 20 to 30 people. Sending such a letter, Modly said, caused unnecessary alarm about the operational readiness of the ship and undermined the chain of command. “In sending it out pretty broadly, he did not take care to ensure that it couldn’t be leaked,” Modly said. “And that’s part of his responsibility.”

In a briefing Saturday, President Trump offered support for Modly’s decision. “He shouldn’t be talking that way in a letter,” the president said of Crozier. “I thought it was terrible what he did.”

During an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper said there were 155 confirmed cases of coronavirus among sailors aboard the aircraft carrier, and that more than half of the ship had been tested.