The Navy hasn't ruled out possibly reinstating captain fired over coronavirus outbreak on aircraft carrier

Brett Crozier Theodore Roosevelt

  • The US Navy has not ruled out the possibility of reinstating Capt. Brett Crozier, the former commanding officer of nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt.
  • "I am taking no options off the table," Adm. Michael Gilday, the Navy's top officer, told the Associated Press.
  • Gilday said he was particularly interested in Crozier's motivations for emailing a letter that was leaked to the media.
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The US Navy has not ruled out reinstating Capt. Brett Crozier, former commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt who was fired for his handling of a coronavirus outbreak, according to the service's top officer.

Adm. Michael Gilday, the chief of naval operations, told the Associated Press he hadn't decided against reinstating Crozier. "I am taking no options off the table," Gilday said.
Gilday said he hadn't yet spoken to Crozier, who is currently in quarantine after testing positive for the coronavirus, but was particularly interested in the captain's motivations for emailing the letter.

Crozier was relieved of command on April 2, days after he emailed a four-page letter to at least 20 people, warning about a coronavirus outbreak aboard his ship.

The letter was eventually leaked to the San Francisco Chronicle, which published its contents on March 31. It was not immediately clear how the letter was leaked, but Navy leaders say they recently completed its investigation into the matter.

USS Theodore Roosevelt

Then-acting Navy secretary Thomas Modly scrutinized Crozier's decision to email the letter to the group and accused him of circumventing the service's chain of command. "I have no doubt in my mind that Capt. Crozier did what he thought was in the best interest and well-being of his crew," Modly said last week. "Unfortunately, it did the opposite."

Modly later traveled to Guam, where the USS Theodore Roosevelt is currently in port, to address the ship's roughly 4,800 crew members. Modly's 15-minute profanity-laced speech about Crozier's actions was later leaked and widely criticized by former Navy leaders, the ship's crew, and lawmakers.

Modly apologized for his remarks and resigned on Tuesday.

Reinstating Crozier would likely be an unprecedented move by the Navy. Previous Navy commanding officers have had their firings expunged from their service records, but reinstatement to command a ship has rarely, if ever, taken place. An online petition seeking to "reward" the captain for "asking for help regarding the safety of his crew" had more than 315,000 signatures as of Thursday.

More than 2,300 of the carrier's crew members have been evacuated, and many of them are under quarantine in hotels on Guam. About 416 of the crew had tested positive for the coronavirus as of Thursday.