The Navy relieved from duty the veteran captain who issued an urgent request for help about a coronavirus outbreak aboard his ship, the USS Theodore Roosevelt, after losing confidence in his ability to command the aircraft carrier, according to reports Thursday.
Capt. Brett Crozier, who commands the Roosevelt, an aircraft carrier with a crew of about 5,000, will be relieved of his command but keep his rank and remain in the Navy, NBC News first reported.
Crozier raised the red flag earlier this week that sailors on the ship needed to be quarantined to stop the spread of the coronavirus, a plea that made headlines.
Crozier had written Navy brass Monday warning that “Sailors do not need to die.”
He sought help to deal with the coronavirus outbreak aboard his ship, which had been forced to dock at a base in Guam last week.
By Wednesday, after testing began, 93 crew members had tested positive and more than 1,000 people had left the ship to go into quarantine on the island, a US territory in the western Pacific Ocean.
The move was expected to be announced by Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly later Thursday.
The official reason for Crozier’s removal from command is a loss of trust and confidence, according to the sources cited by NBC.
Crozier, in the four-page letter, asked for “quarantine rooms” on shore for his crew.
“This will require a political solution but it is the right thing to do,” Crozier wrote.
“We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die. If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset — our Sailors.”