Navy Secretary Thomas Modly apologizes for calling the fired captain of the USS Roosevelt ‘naive’ and ‘stupid’
US Navy Acting Secretary Thomas Modly apologized for calling the deposed USS captain Theodore Roosevelt ‘naive’ and ‘stupid’ about the scathing letter he wrote calling on the leaders of the navy more to stop an outbreak of the coronavirus on the aircraft carrier.
Modly tore in Captain Brett Crozier on Monday when he addressed sailors aboard the USS Roosevelt, which is currently docked in Guam.
The acting naval secretary followed in a statement hours later and wrote, “I want to apologize for my recent comments to the TR crew.
“Let me be clear, I don’t think Captain Brett Crozier is naive or stupid. I think, and always thought he was the opposite.
“We choose our courier commanders carefully. Captain Crozier is smart and passionate.
“I believe, precisely because he is not naive and stupid, that he sent his alarming e-mail with the intention of getting it into the public domain in an attempt to draw public attention to the situation of his ship.
“I apologize for the confusion this choice of words may have caused. I would also like to apologize to Captain Crozier, his family and the entire crew of the Theodore Roosevelt for all the pain my comments have caused.
“She, and the entire Navy, have my full commitment that I will continue to help bring the TR back to health and bring it back to sea where we can get beyond this unfortunate situation.”
US Navy Acting Secretary Thomas Modly apologized for calling the deposed USS captain Theodore Roosevelt “ naive ” and “ stupid ” about the scathing letter he wrote requesting the leaders of the Navy more to stop an outbreak of the coronavirus on the aircraft carrier
Modly tore in Captain Brett Crozier on Monday when he addressed sailors aboard the USS Roosevelt, which is currently docked in Guam. Crozier (photo) was released from his duties last week after a memo in which he complained that the Navy was not doing enough to help with a coronavirus outbreak on his ship went viral
Modly issued the above apology statement on Monday evening
In his comments about the ship’s PA system, Modly condemned Crozier for going outside the chain of command with his memo to the Navy leaders, begging for permission to evacuate about 4,000 crew members to protect them from the outbreak.
“We are not at war. Sailors don’t have to die, ‘Crozier wrote in the letter, which leaked in the media last week and sparked a firestorm of controversy for the Navy.
Modly said to the sailors, “If he didn’t think this information would not go public, at this time and the information age we live in, he was either A) too naive or too stupid to command such a ship. The alternative is that he did this on purpose. ‘
After Modly called Crozier “naive,” a person on the ship was heard shouting “shut up” on a sound recording of the address.
The secretary came under fire after his comments to sailors were made public, and some said the speech made the situation surrounding Crozier’s resignation worse.
Modly can be seen with President Donald Trump at the December soccer match of the Army and Navy
Modly defended his comments in a statement immediately after they leaked into the media.
“I haven’t listened to a recording of my comments since I spoke to the crew, so I can’t verify the transcript is correct,” he said.
“The spoken words came from the heart and were meant for them. I support every word I said, even, unfortunately, every blasphemy that may have been used for emphasis. Anyone who has ever served on a naval ship would understand. I ask, but don’t expect people to read them in their entirety. ‘
When asked about Modly’s speech at his daily White House press conference, President Donald Trump said he might “just get involved.”
“I didn’t hear exactly, I heard they heard it,” said Trump, referring to the crew.
“I heard they made a statement, if that was the statement, then it’s a strong statement.”
But the president then repeated his condemnation of Crozier’s letter, saying that it “should not have leaked.”
“This is a military operation. I must tell you that I have heard very good things about the gentlemen. Both gentlemen, by the way, I will say this. About both gentlemen, ”he said in clear reference to Crozier and Modly.
“And I can look at it from the standpoint that something needs to be resolved because I hear good things about both people.”
When asked about Modly’s speech at his daily White House press conference, President Donald Trump said he ‘might just get involved’
Modly had also used his speech to the crew to attack the media for printing Crozier’s memo.
“I’m going to tell you all, there is never a situation where you should consider the media as part of your chain of command,” he noted in his comments. “You can skip the chain of command and take the consequences, you can disobey the chain of command and take the consequences, but there is no, no situation where you go to the media, because the media has an agenda, and the agenda they have hangs no matter which side of the political aisle they are on. I’m sorry the country is now, but it’s the truth and that’s why they use it to divide us and they use it to embarrass the Navy. They use it to embarrass you. ‘
He then complained about the hatred imposed on him for firing the ‘hero captain’, as Crozier is called online by supporters.
“I can’t control or try to change my anger you have with me for relieving your beloved CO. If I could give you a glimpse of the level of hatred and pure evil thrown in my path, my family’s way and they take care of people on the coast who break their ass to get them off this ship. They don’t shoot at it. They’re asking how we can help them, ”Modly said.
The response to Modly’s decision was intense and support for the captain is strong. Theodore Roosevelt’s crew applauded Crozier as he descended the gangway of the nuclear-powered ship after Modly relieved him.
In his 15-minute comment, Modly ordered the crew to do their duty and stop complaining, even though he complained about his treatment after relieving Crozier.
“I’m going to give you some advice to make this important – and often difficult – task much easier for yourself. My best advice to you is that you never – never worry – that you are loved for what you do. Rather like the country you have to defend. Love the constitution you promised your life to protect. And, most importantly, love the people you have to lead. Before you do, make sure they eat as much about their family as they do about yours, and invest much more in your success than in your own achievements. Cherish their careers more than pursuing your own progress and valuing their lives so that you will always consider their safety in every single decision you make, “he said.
He told the crew, “You are under no obligation to love your leadership, just respect it. You are not required to like your job, only to do it. You are under no obligation, you are under no obligation to expect anything from your leaders, except that they treat you fairly and put the ship’s mission first. ‘
Then he continued, “That is your duty. Do not complain. Everyone is afraid of this thing. And let me tell you something, if this ship were in combat and hypersonic missiles were coming at it, you’d be pretty scared too. But you do your job. And that is what I expect from you. And that’s what I expect every officer on this ship to do your job. ‘
He acknowledged that he had received a list of questions from the crew that he would answer as soon as he got back to his Washington, D.C. office.
“I have your questionnaire. I am very grateful that I got them. I know they are all genuine. I don’t think it has an agenda. But there are many of them and I will answer them all. But I have to do it with respect, and I have to take some time so that you understand all the nuances of the questions you ask. And there are many here. So instead of answering them all today, I’m going to take them back to Washington and I’m going to answer them, ”he said.
Modly also brought up former Vice President Joe Biden, who said the decision to fire Crozier was “almost criminal.”
“It’s not about me. Former Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, suggested yesterday that my decision was a criminal offense. I assure you that this was not the case. Because I understand the facts and those facts show that what your captain did was very, very wrong at a time when we expected him to be the calming force on a turbulent sea, ”he told the crew, many of whom have Crozier acclaimed ‘hero’ for his actions.
“This decision had few benefits for me. You can believe it or not. I have made a decision for the Navy I love, for the Navy I serve and now serve, and especially for the sailors for which I am responsible. Not only here, but on nearly 300 other ships in the fleet. Your captain’s actions also affected them. Imagine that every other CO also believed that the media was a suitable channel to voice complaints with their chain of command under difficult circumstances. We wouldn’t have a navy anymore. Not long after that we wouldn’t have a country, ”Modly added.
And he concluded with these words: “Yet I understand that you can be angry with me for the rest of your life. I guarantee you will not be alone. It is not your duty to be angry. It is your duty to each other, this ship and the nation that built it to protect them. Even in the midst of an unexpected crisis, it is the mission of this ship that matters. Our opponents are watching and that is why we are here. We are happy to assist you. You have my personal word on it. Your CO had my personal word about this from day one. Whatever you think of me, I’m not going to take my word for it. And when it comes to the T-R – whether you hate me or not – I will never, never, ever, ever give up on the ship. And you neither. Thanks for listening and I’ll get the detailed answers to your questions later this week. Go navy. ‘
Many sailors on the Roosevelt praised Crozier for his actions and for being a leader when the sailors needed him.
“He had legitimate concerns about his sailors, asked for help in a respectful and honorable way, and then they released him from his duty,” said a Roosevelt sailor. The Wall Street Journal.
“Seriously, that’s crazy. If anything, the man deserves a promotion. That’s the kind of leadership they lack, but the type they need, ”said another.
The acting naval secretary defended his decision in an interview with The Washington Postwhere he explained that he fired Crozier because he thought that was what President Trump would like.
“I didn’t want to make a decision where the President would think he should intervene because the Navy couldn’t be decisive,” Modly said, “If I were President and I saw a ship commander practice such a bad judgment, I would ask why the navy did not take action itself. ‘
He said he hadn’t spoken to anyone in the White House before making his decision.
But Modly also shared how his predecessor, Navy Secretary Richard Spencer, “lost his job because the Navy Department hit crossways with the President” in the case of former Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher.
“I didn’t want that to happen again,” said Modly.
And the president made it clear that he agreed with the decision to end Crozier.
“I hated what he did to write a letter. I mean, this is not a literature course. This is a captain of a huge nuclear powered ship. And he shouldn’t be talking like that in a letter, “Trump said.
Captain Brett Crozier was released from his command of the USS Theodore Roosevelt on Thursday, two days after his call for evacuation of the aircraft carrier was leaked in the media. Video posted on social media on Thursday shows hundreds of sailors on board the ship saying a rough goodbye and greeting their fired commander
Trump went against Spencer’s recommendation and returned a relegation Gallagher received from the Navy.
Gallagher was charged with multiple crimes, including the murder of a prisoner of war, on his last deployment to Iraq. In the end, a court only sentenced him on one point. He was sentenced to prison and demoted.
Modly told the situation in his interview with The mail.
“I put myself in the President’s shoes. I figured out how the President felt he had to be involved in Navy decisions [in the Gallagher case and the Spencer firing]. I didn’t want that to happen again, “he said.
A graduate of the Naval Academy, Modly worked as a U.S. Navy officer for seven years before working in the private sector. He has been Acting Secretary of the Navy since November.
In early March, the USS Theodore Roosevelt made a stopover in Vietnam. When the weather went out to sea, crew members began to get sick with the coronavirus, with the highly contagious disease spreading quickly throughout the ship.
The number rose from initially three to over 150 affected sailors.
In his memo, Crozier complained about the limitations of the coronavirus test, and seven said who tested negative symptoms of infection one to three days later.
He also pointed out that the ship’s proximity meant it was unable to meet the recommended social distance guidelines.
He wrote that bunk beds, shared meals, and bathroom areas are “most conducive” to spreading the disease.
“With the exception of a handful of senior officers’ cabins, none of the moorings aboard a warship are suitable for quarantine or isolation,” he noted.
After the memo went viral, Crozier was released from the warrant.
Modly defended his actions, saying that his chief of staff immediately contacted Crozier after hearing about the ship’s outbreak.
“That message and all the content of that message was fine for him to send confidentially to people in his chain of command so they could respond to it. In fact, he could have given it to me, either my chief of staff, or me, as I had asked him to do when I first reached out to him on the ship when we first found out that there were COVID cases. were, “he told Roosevelt’s sailors in his speech.
The outbreak aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt (seen docked in Guam on March 27) was first reported days after the ship completed a historic five-day visit to Vietnam from March 4-9. Officials say they are still trying to find out the origin of the outbreak
Sailors say that morale plummeted after the first COVID-19 cases were reported on the ship, providing the perfect environment for an outbreak given the nearby environment. The ship is docked in Guam on March 27
And he told The Washington Post that he was shocked when Crozier’s message, sent to an email distribution list that Modly wasn’t up, went public.
“I was amazed,” said Modly. “My only conclusion was,” he is panicking. “It was so strange. ‘
Officials say they are still trying to find out the origin of the outbreak on the ship and have not positively determined whether it started in Vietnam.
Data from the Vietnamese Ministry of Health suggests that the number of COVID-19 cases in Vietnam has doubled over the five days that the Roosevelt was docked at Tien Sa port in Da Nang.
But sailors were largely unaffected by the virus when they went ashore in Da Nang, even as the number of cases skyrocketed all over the world.
Two of Crozier’s classmates, who remain close to the family, revealed that he had tested positive for COVID-19 at The New York Times on Sunday.
The classmates said that Crozier started showing symptoms of the disease before he was released from his order.
A Navy spokesman told the Times on Sunday that the captain has been transferred to Naval Air Forces Pacific command headquarters in San Diego.
Before Crozier resumes his duties, however, he must go through a quarantine period.
The news of Crozier’s diagnosis follows a report alleging that the highest U.S. military commander and the highest naval officer were against Crozier’s resignation, but were overruled by the Trump administration.
General Mark Milley, the chairman of the chief of staff, and Admiral Michael Gilday, the head of naval operations, believed that the Navy should have allowed an investigation into Crozier’s letter.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Sunday supported Modly’s decision to fire Crozier
Secretary of Defense Mark Esper initially on the side of the officers The Washington Post.
Esper defended Modly’s decision to fire Crozier on Sunday.
“I think Acting Secretary Modly made a very difficult decision – one I support,” said Esper CNN on Sunday.
“It was based on his belief that he had lost confidence and confidence in the captain because of his actions.
“It’s just another example of how we hold leaders accountable for their actions.”
Esper was asked if the Trump administration was too fast to fire Crozier rather than allow the military to complete its investigation into the case.
The Secretary of Defense replied that it was “not unheard of” for the Navy to fire a senior officer before an internal investigation was completed.
“All services sometimes relieve commanders without the benefit of a preliminary investigation because they have lost confidence in them,” said Esper.
“It is certainly not unique to the Navy.
“The Navy has a culture of removing captains quickly and decisively if they lose confidence in them.”
READ THE FULL SPEECH FROM NAVY SECRETARY MODLY TO THE CREW OF THE TEDDY ROOSEVELT
When I first heard that you had COVID cases here, I actually intended to be here last Tuesday after visiting the Mercy in Los Angeles. So I want you to know that nobody on my level is ignoring the situation here from the start.
Very early in this crisis, I contacted your CO through my Chief of Staff. Sunday I told him I wanted to come to the ship and whether it would be okay or too disturbing.
I told him because I wanted to be able to help, if there was anything else he needed, because this tremendous effort was going on to get you healthy, clean and safe.
He waved me away. He said he felt that everything was under control. He had been concerned a day or so earlier that things weren’t going fast, but things … He still wanted to get more beds. But he didn’t think it was necessary. He also spoke to my chief of staff and emailed him back and forth.
Sunday evening he sent that email and that email went to a wide audience of people. I know I say it was over twenty. We think it was much more, even more than that.
And immediately it was picked up by the San Francisco Chronicle, which published sensitive information about the material condition of a warship.
If, in my opinion, he did not think that this information would not become public, at this time and the information age in which we live, he would have been either too naive or too stupid to command such a ship. [A voice is heard saying loudly ‘What the f***?]
The alternative is that he did this on purpose, which is a serious violation of the Union Code of Military Justice that you all know.
That message and all the content of that message was fine for him to send to people in his chain of command confidentially so that they could act on it.
In fact, he could have given it to me, through my chief of staff or me, as I asked him to do when I first reached out to him on the ship when we first found out there were COVID cases .
He was a betrayal of confidence with me, with his chain of command, with you, with the 800 to 1,000 people who, with your shipmates now ashore, are breaking their ass every day to do what they have to do to convert what they have to do do on a normal day to get you out of here, get you safe, make you well, clean you and get you back on this ship where you should be.
It was treason and I can tell you one more thing. Because he did, he put it in the public form and it has now become a big controversy in Washington DC and across the country about a martyr CO who didn’t get the help he needed and therefore had to go through the chain of command, a chain of command that includes the media.
And I’m going to tell you all, all of you, there is never a situation where you should consider the media as part of your chain of command.
You can skip the chain of command if you want and take the consequences, you can disobey the chain of command and take the consequences, but there is no, no situation where you go to the media, because the media has an agenda, and the agenda that they have depends on which side of the political aisle they are on.
I’m sorry the country is now, but it’s the truth and that’s why they use it to divide us and they use it to embarrass the Navy. They use it to embarrass you.
While you’re working on something that this country hasn’t had to deal with for over 100 years, and the world has never treated anything like it on this scale.
The American people believe in you and they think that of all the people in the world who can hold something like this together, it is the United States Navy and our sailors.
And they are stressed. They can be stressed and they can be tired. They may be scared, but they keep their s ** t together and they take care of each other and they take care of the people on the coast who destroy their a ** to get people off this ship.
They don’t shoot at it. They ask how we can help them, what can we do. “How can I help the E-3 that works for me? I am an E-4. I am concerned. What do I have to do to help the E-2s and E-3s on this ship? ‘
That is your duty. Do not complain.
Everyone is afraid of this thing and let me tell you something. If this ship were in combat and hypersonic missiles were approaching, you’d be pretty scared too. But you would do your job. And that is what I expect from you. And that’s what I expect every officer on this ship to do your job.
One of the things that bothered me the most in his email was that we are not at war, that we are not technically at war.
But let me tell you something. The only reason we are dealing with this now is that a large authoritarian regime called China was unaware of what happened to this virus, and they put the world at risk to protect themselves and their reputation.
We don’t do that in the Navy. We are transparent with each other, use the right channels with each other, and that is what we should do and what we should do.
I have your list of questions. I am very grateful that I got them. I know they are all genuine. I don’t think it has an agenda. But there are many of them and I will answer them all.
But I have to do it with respect, and I have to take some time so that you understand all the nuances of the questions you ask, and there are many here.
So instead of answering them all today, I’m going to take them back to Washington and I’m going to answer them.
And let me say one more thing. Everything I tell you now, I will never, never, never, ever, throw guys under the bus in Washington or anywhere in the media, anywhere.
And I don’t expect you to ever do that with your shipmates, the ones on the coast who told me when Captain Crozier’s email reached the San Francisco Chronicle after 15 hours, they were demoralized because they knew what they had March 25 for you to give you what you need.
And the other thing you need to understand is that we are in Guam. It is an American territory, but they have their own government and their own health problems and they are scared just like any other part of the world.
And the governor of Guam has stuck her neck out with their own people to say that she is willing to open hotel rooms across this country – or this state, this territory – so sailors from the USS Teddy Roosevelt can go and be safe.
Because she believes that you are all her brothers and sisters who protect this place for her citizens, so she is willing to endanger everything to take care of you.
And she told me today that when Captain Crozier’s letter appeared to the public, she then dealt with them, all her constituents, who say, “Holy c ** p, what happens? We have 5000 people with COVI in our city without good health care and everything else ‘
So think of that when you encourage the man of the ship who exposed you to it.
I understand that you love him. It’s good that you love him. But you don’t have to love him.
I want to share with you something that I read at the Navy Academy graduation meeting in 2018. I told graduation class, but I expanded it a bit.
As officers and sailors of the United States Army, you have a tremendous responsibility to respect and protect those under your command.
The American people entrust their sons and daughters to you. And they put their safety and that of our country in your hands.
Don’t expect everyone to love you for this, even if it can happen. As Secretary Mattis, my former boss, gladly told us who were so honored to work at the Pentagon, “he said it is your job to protect the nation.
So I’m going to give you some advice on how to make this important, and often difficult, task much easier for yourself.
My best advice to you is that you never have to worry about being loved for what you do.
Rather like the country you have to defend. Love the constitution you promise to protect your life. And more importantly, love the people you have to lead.
Before you do, make sure they eat as much about their family as they do about yours, and invest much more in your success than in your own achievements. Cherish their careers more than pursue your own progress and value their lives so that you will always consider their safety in every decision you make.
Only through this level of servant leadership will you maximize and enable those you lead to meet the demands we will face in this century.
And those demands are getting more complicated every day because we all learn. But it will also bring incredible personal satisfaction during your service.
Crew of the Teddy Roosevelt, you are under no obligation to love your leadership, only to respect it. You are not required to like your job, only to do it.
You are not obligated – you are not obliged to expect anything from your leaders, except that they will treat you fairly and put the ship’s mission first, because it is the ship’s mission that matters.
You know all this, but in my opinion your captain lost sight of this and deliberately compromised critical information about your status to draw more attention to your situation.
That was my judgment, and I ruled that it could not be tolerated by the commander of an atom [powered] aircraft carrier.
This carries a great risk, even though I’m sure he never thought that. I’m sure he loved you all as it should, but he lost sight of why the Teddy Roosevelt exists and why fate brought you all together in the midst of this COVID crisis.
Your nation at home is struggling. Nobody expected this pandemic, so we all work through it.
Je medezeilers in de Verenigde Staten doen vrijwilligerswerk, trekken uniformen aan en rennen het vuur in steden als New York, Los Angeles, Dallas en New Orleans. Ik heb ze gezien: geen angst, COVID tegen het lijf.
Niks is makkelijk. Is dit ergens voor? Maar vanaf het allereerste begin zijn we vanaf mijn niveau verloofd om u zo snel mogelijk de hulp te bieden die u nodig heeft. Begrijp dat het tijd kost om te buigen voor een crisis die zo uniek is.
Teddy Roosevelt moet sterk zijn als krijgers, niet zwak als slachtoffers. De Teddy Roosevelt moet hier met gratie doorheen werken, niet in paniek.
De Teddy Roosevelt moet de burgers thuis laten zien dat het samen handelt en dat het dit virus neerhaalt, net zoals het de Chinezen of de Noord-Koreanen of de Russen zou neerhalen als een van die landen ooit zo dom was om te rotzooien met de ‘grote stok’ omdat ze dachten dat ze kwetsbaar was.
Ik kan de woede die je op me hebt omdat ik je geliefde CO heb verlicht niet beheersen of proberen te veranderen. Als ik je een glimp zou kunnen geven van het niveau van haat en puur kwaad dat op mijn pad is gegooid, de weg van mijn familie over deze beslissing, zou ik . Maar het gaat niet om mij.
De voormalige vice-president van de Verenigde Staten, Joe Biden, suggereerde gisteren dat mijn beslissing strafbaar was. Ik verzeker u dat dit niet het geval was, want ik begrijp de feiten en wat die feiten aantonen, was dat wat uw kapitein deed, heel erg verkeerd was in een moment waarop we verwachtten dat hij de kalmerende kracht zou zijn op een turbulente zee.
Deze beslissing had weinig voordelen voor mij. Dat kun je geloven of niet.
Ik nam een beslissing voor de marine waar ik van hou, voor de marine waarin ik heb gediend, en nu dien ik voor, en vooral voor de matrozen waarvoor ik verantwoordelijk ben, niet alleen hier, maar op bijna 300 andere schepen in de vloot.
De acties van uw kapitein hadden ook gevolgen voor hen.
Stel je voor dat alle andere bevelvoerende officieren ook geloofden dat de media een geschikt kanaal waren voor het uiten van grieven met hun commandostructuur onder moeilijke omstandigheden: we zouden geen marine meer hebben. Niet lang daarna zouden we geen land meer hebben.
Still I understand that you may be angry with me for the rest of your lives. I guarantee that you won’t be along. Being angry is not your duty.
Your duty is to each other, to this ship, and to the nation that built it for you to protect them.
Even in the midst of unexpected crisis, it is the missions of this ship that matters. Our adversaries are watching and that is why we are here.
We will get you the help that you need. You have my personal word on it. The commanding officer had my personal word, from day one.
Whatever else you may think of me, I don’t go back on my word. And when it comes to the Teddy Roosevelt, whether you hate me or not, I will never, ever, ever, ever give up the ship. And neither should you.
Thanks for listening and I’ll get the detailed answers to your questions to you sometime this week.
CAPTAIN BRETT CROZIER’S FULL MEMO TO NAVY LEADERS