Dereliction of Duty

On Thursday, April 2, Captain Brett Crozier was relieved of command of the nuclear powered aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt.  The carrier docked in Guam on March 27th after dozens of sailors were reported to have fallen ill with the coronavirus.  The Navy ordered the evacuation of most of the 5000+ crew except for a skeleton crew of 400 to man the nuclear reactor, fire fighting equipment and the galley.  Politicians and reporters in Washington are wanting answers as to why the popular Captain was relieved of his duty and what was the current status of the sailors from the carrier.  This entire episode is a total embarrassment to the Department of the Navy and our national security.  None of this should have been made public and that is likely the main reason for Captain Crozier’s removal from duty.  The Captain is subject to the same fears and panic of every civilian.  As commander of a floating war-fighting machine, the Captain wears many hats and has numerous responsibilities.  The captain realized that the presence of a very contagious virus in a confined space could jeopardize the well-being of his crew.  Although his intentions were noble his technique was inexcusable.  Captain Crozier’s request for assistance was sent over a non-secure email to a “broad array of people” (more than 20) rather than up the military chain of command.  His request quickly appeared on national media, making it accessible to our adversaries and every terrorist with evil intent.  Captain Crozier informed the world that one of our nuclear-powered aircraft carriers (carrying the most advanced aircraft and weaponry) was essentially disabled.  A commanding officer should have known this was a breach of national security.  The Captain asked that most of his crew be removed so they would not “die needlessly.”  Every fleet size ship has an infirmary that should have the ability to isolate sick patients, and if necessary, evacuated them to a Naval Hospital.  Several sailors filmed the Crozier departure and posted it on social media.  One sailor even narrated his video saying “and that’s how you send off one of the greatest captains you’ve ever had.”  As Crozier left many sailors chanted “A man for the people.”

We seem to have a total disregard for national security in this nation.  Adam Schiff and other careless politicians intentionally release information to the press to hurt their political opponents.  Schiff is the Head of the House Intelligence Committee; if ever there was an oxymoron this is it!  In their zeal to damage opponents politicians and others are hurting innocent civilians and many of our military personnel.  How many of our soldiers and marines have given their lives due to a politician’s boastful statements to the press.  The media is complicit in laxity when it comes to national security.  During WWII the saying was “loose lips sink ships.”  Even if members of the media heard some damaging information they would have NEVER allowed it to get out in the open where our enemies might hear it.  Today’s press will publish a good story regardless of the consequences to our nation.  Members of the House Armed Services Committee have criticized the decision to dismiss Captain Crozier.  They believe that it is “a reckless, political move that reeks of undue command influence.”  In defending his actions acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly stated Crozier “allowed the complexity of the challenge of the COVID breakout on the ship to overwhelm his ability to act professionally”.  Crozier will remain in the Navy and retain his rank.  In a different time and under different circumstances, Captain Crozier would have likely faced much graver disciplinary action.  He and his political supporters should be grateful he has retained his rank and retirement.

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