Leaked letter to superiors during pandemic led to his relief as commander of the USS Theodore Roosevelt
These days, retired Navy Capt. Brett Crozier comes across as a man who accepts the decisions he made to save his sailors in 2020, ending his military career in the process. Crozier knew the possible consequences of sending that March 2020 email from Guam to higher-ups while he was commanding the COVID-stricken aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, a message in which he begged Big Navy to speed up its efforts to get his sailors off the ship during those uncertain early days of the pandemic.
“We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die,” Crozier wrote in the message. “If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset — our Sailors.”
“Captain Crozier! Captain Crozier!” the sailors chanted amid claps and cheers as their skipper walked along the gangway, leaving his ship of nearly 5,000 sailors
After that letter leaked to the San Francisco Chronicle, he accepted being fired in April 2020, even as public outrage over Crozier’s concerns spurred the Navy into faster action, securing off-ship rooms for the 5,000 embarked TR sailors sidelined on the Pacific island.
A few months after his firing, Crozier’s ultimate goal came to fruition: From atop a paddleboard near San Diego, Crozier watched the TR and nearly all its sailors get home safely from their so-called “COVID cruise.”
Crozier, a helicopter and jet pilot before commanding TR, retired from the Navy last year and has largely remained out of the spotlight.But this week, he has a book coming out that for the first time offers his perspective on leading the carrier crew during its battle with COVID and what he learned from the experience.
“Surf When You Can: Lessons in Life, Loyalty and Leadership from a Maverick Navy Captain” chronicles not only his time aboard TR, but includes tales from his long and varied career.Crozier recently spoke with Navy Times about the TR, COVID and the Vietnam port call that preceded it. He also talked about standing up for sailors and whether he has any lingering beef with former acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly, who slammed him in an address to the TR’s crew just days after Crozier was relieved of command.
Source : Navy Times