US Navy recommends reinstating commander of virus-hit aircraft carrier

Washington, April 25 (IANS) The US Navy has recommended the reinstatement of Captain Brett Crozier’s, the ousted commander of the coronavirus-hit aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt.

Following a week-long investigation, the Navy on Friday concluded that Crozier, who was fired earlier this month after sounding alarms of a growing coronavirus outbreak aboard the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, should be reinstated as the warship’s commander, Xinhua news agency reported.

Defence Secretary Mark Esper told the Navy on Friday that he had more questions about the investigation and could not yet make a decision.

Earlier on Friday, Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said Esper likely would back the Navy’s conclusion and that he trusted the Navy’s judgment.

The Navy opened the investigation on April 1, two days after Crozier wrote a memo pleading for a faster and more thorough response to the growing outbreak on the Theodore Roosevelt diverted to port in Guam.

On April 2, Crozier was relieved of command by then-Navy Secretary Thomas Modly who resigned the following week after calling Crozier “too naive or too stupid” while addressing the aircraft carrier’s crew.

At the time when Crozier wrote the memo, about 70 crew members had tested positive for COVID-19.

The Navy now has tested all crew members aboard the warship.

Of them, 840 have tested positive, 4,098 negative, and one sailor died from the virus.