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USS Roosevelt commander relieved after leaked letter citing concerns over coronavirus on ship

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Posted at 5:30 PM, Apr 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-02 22:18:32-04

The captain of a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier facing a growing outbreak of the coronavirus was fired Thursday by Navy leaders who said he created a panic by sending his memo pleading for help to too many people.

According to CBS News reporter Mary Walsh, Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas B. Modly did not relieve the Roosevelt's commander, Capt. Brett Crozier, for writing a letter raising alarms about the coronavirus on the ship, but rather because Crozier sent it to so many people in the U.S. Navy that it leaked.

Walsh reported that Modly sent a message to the ship's crew saying, "I am entirely convinced your commander loves you & had you at the center of his heart & mind in every decision he made; but I have to be sure that is matched by his sober judgment under pressure."

Modly says the memo was leaked to a California newspaper and quickly spread to many news outlets, the Associated Press reported. According to the AP, Modly said Crozier "demonstrated extremely poor judgment" in the middle of a crisis."

The Associated Press added that the decision to remove Crozier as ship commander was immediately condemned by members of the House Armed Services Committee. They reportedly called it a “destabilizing move” that will “likely put our service members at greater risk and jeopardize our fleet’s readiness.”

The outlet reported that as many as 3,000 Sailors of the ship's crew of 5,000 will will be taken off the ship and quarantined by Friday. While more than 100 Sailors have tested positive for the virus, the AP says, none have been hospitalized at this point.

The USS Roosevelt is currently docked in Guam.

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