Navy Captain Fired after Crew Fell Victim to COVID-19

Picture imported from Wiki Commons.

Picture imported from Wiki Commons.

Danica Harf, Staff

U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier Captain Brett E. Crozier was fired April 1st, 2020 for not conforming to proper chain of command in an attempt to save the lives of his crew. 

Crozier was captain of the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt, which was deployed in the western Pacific ocean as a means to prevent problems that may be initiated by North Korea. The ship carried a crew of 5,000 sailors. On March 24th, after stopping at a port in Vietnam, two sailors tested positive for COVID-19. From there, the virus began to spread ruthlessly to the other members of the ship. 

Instead of continuing their scheduled deployment, Crozier asked for permission to evacuate in order to stop the ship from becoming a petri dish for the virus. He was permitted to stop at a Navy base in Guam, which had a hospital where the crew could quarantine for two weeks. Unfortunately, as the disease was accelerating, Crozier’s superiors’ inaction made for an inefficient evacuation of the ship, enabling the spread of the disease and further risking the lives of the crew. 

In an emotional attempt to urge his superiors for help, on March 30th, Crozier wrote an Email titled, “Dear Fellow Naval Aviators.” His letter detailed the horrors brought onto the ship by the Coronavirus, Crozier’s most prominent point being, “The spread of the disease is ongoing and accelerating… Decisive action is required… We are not at war, sailors do not need to die.” 

Somehow, his Email was leaked to the press. 

Two days later, Secretary of the Navy Thomos Modly fired Crozier for not following proper chain of command and emailing other officers as an attempt to motivate his superiors to act. While following a proper chain of command is vital to a well organized and high functioning military, can Crozier’s actions in a time of need truly be considered a fireable offense?

This pandemic is an unprecedented time for all nations across the globe. Crozier’s actions may have been unprecedented, but in a time of crisis, they were necessary for the sake of the entire crew. By risking his entire career to save the lives of his crew, Brett E. Crozier will be written in history books as one of the heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic.