Ousted captain of US aircraft carrier tests COVID-19 positive

Washington, April 6 (IANS) Captain Brett Crozier, commander of the USS Theodore Roosevelt who was ousted after saying the US Navy was not doing enough to halt a coronavirus outbreak on board the aircraft carrier, has tested positive for the virus, a media report said.

The New York Times report on Sunday, citing Crozier’s Naval Academy classmates, said Crozier exhibited symptoms before he was relieved of his duty on the warship on April 2, Xinhua news agency reported.
Secretary of Defence Mark Esper said on Sunday that an investigation into Crozier’s actions was ongoing.
“All the services at times relieve commanders without the benefit of an investigation up front because they’ve lost confidence in them. It’s certainly not unique to the Navy,” Xinhua news agency quoted Esper as saying on CNN.
He also said that there have been 155 confirmed COVID-19 cases among sailors on board the Roosevelt, more than half of the crew have been tested, and that there have been no hospitalizations.
The Navy planned to evacuate 2,700 of the roughly 5,000 crew members on the vessel, leaving the rest on board to maintain the ship’s operation.
As of Saturday, 1,548 service members have disembarked the ship, according to the Navy.
The New York Times, citing local hotel association, said at least an additional 400 service members will be moved to Guam hotels Sunday.
Crozier sent a five-page internal letter last week to higher-ranking officials in the chain of command, pleading for help from the Pentagon to contain a COVID-19 outbreak aboard the Roosevelt by transferring 90 per cent of the crew onto Guam for quarantine.
The ship is currently docked in Guam.
“We are not at war,” the captain wrote in the letter, which was first made public by the San Francisco Chronicle.
“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.”
Crozier’s ousting was announced on April 2 by Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly, who said the captain allowed “the complexity of his challenge with the COVID breakout on the ship to overwhelm his ability to act professionally when acting professionally was what was needed the most at the time”.
President Donald Trump said Saturday that he supported Crozier’s firing, adding “it was terrible what he did”.
The Democrats, however, condemned the Navy.
Democratic lawmakers in both the Senate and the House asked for a probe into the matter, while presidential contender Joe Biden hailed Crozier as being “faithful to his duty – both to his sailors and his country”.