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Navy Removes Captain Who Sought Help With Outbreak

Newser — Bob Cronin

The captain of a US aircraft carrier has lost his command after asking the Navy to let him evacuate crew members who tested positive for the coronavirus.

Thomas Modly, acting secretary of the Navy, said Thursday that he gave the order to relieve Capt. Brett Crozier of his command, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Crozier had written his superior officers asking for permission to remove ill crew members from the ship in Guam, where the USS Theodore Roosevelt is docked.

It wasn't possible to isolate ill patients on the ship, he said. The San Francisco Chronicle, Crozier's hometown newspaper, saw a copy of the memo and reported it; Modly declined to say whether he thought Crozier leaked it but said that would violate Navy policy.

Crozier did forward the memo to as many as 30 people, Modly said. President Trump said late Thursday that he didn't agree with distributing the memo, "not even a little bit."

Modly said Crozier, who had written his bosses that "sailors do not need to die," had exercised poor judgment, per ABC.

"I lost confidence in his ability to lead that warship as it continues to fight through this virus, get the crew healthy, so that it can continue to meet its national security requirements," he said.

Distributing the memo, Modly said, "was a completely unnecessary thing to do in the midst of a crisis." The ship has nearly 5,000 personnel on board.

Modley said Friday that 114 sailors had tested positive and that the number would climb, per NPR, "maybe in the hundreds." (Guam answered Crozier's request.)

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