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Theodore Roosevelt's Great Grandson: Captain Crozier Is a Hero

Theodore Roosevelt's Great Grandson: Captain Crozier Is a Hero

Capt. Brett Crozier was fired Thursday as the skipper of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt. (Navy)

By    |   Saturday, 04 April 2020 10:21 AM

Theodore Roosevelt's great-grandson is tipping his cap to the former captain of the aircraft carrier named after his great-grandfather, Capt. Brett Crozier, calling him an American hero.

"In this era when so many seem to place expediency over honor, it is heartening that so many others are showing great courage, some even risking their lives," Tweed Roosevelt, chairman of the Theodore Roosevelt Institute at Long Island University, wrote in an opinion column for The New York Times.

"Theodore Roosevelt, in his time, chose the honorable course. Captain Crozier has done the same."

Capt. Crozier was relieved of his command aboard aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt after he had written a letter to superiors about a COVID-19 outbreak among his Navy sailors on the ship. The Navy said the command change came because Crozier incited panic on board and leaked the letter to his hometown newspaper.

"We are not at war," Capt. Crozier's letter read, according to 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."

After the letter was leaked, the Navy permitted the carrier docked in Guam to unload the crew. Capt. Crozier was still relieved.

"Capt. Crozier joins a growing list of heroic men and women who have risked their careers over the last few weeks to speak out about life-threatening failures to treat the victims of this terrible pandemic," Tweed Roosevelt wrote. "Many of them are doctors and nurses, and many of them, like Capt. Crozier, have been punished. All of them deserve our deepest gratitude.

"In removing Capt. Crozier, the Navy said that his letter was a gross error that could incite panic among his crew. But it's hard to know what else he could have done — the situation on the Theodore Roosevelt was dire."

Capt. Crozier feared the medical crew on board was about to be overwhelmed, if not infected themselves, according to Tweed Roosevelt.

"The captain felt he had to act immediately if he was to save his sailors," Tweed Roosevelt wrote. "He chose to write a strong letter, which he distributed to a number of people within the Navy, demanding immediate removal from the ship of as many sailors as possible. Perhaps this was not the best approach for his career, but it got results.

"The letter, once leaked to The Chronicle, quickly reappeared in papers nationwide. The immediate public pressure forced the Navy to relent, and it started arranging to get as many of the crew members as possible off the ship and into hotels in Guam."

Like his great-grandfather, Tweed Roosevelt wrote, Capt. Crozier showed Roosevelt-worth courage the U.S. should applaud, not denigrate.

"Capt. Crozier, however, paid a big price," he wrote. "The acting secretary of the Navy, Thomas Modly, summarily fired the captain, not for leaking the letter (for which he said he had no proof), but for showing 'extremely poor judgment.' Many disagree, believing that Capt. Crozier showed excellent judgment. He left the ship Thursday night to a rousing hero's sendoff.

"I suppose it is too much to hope that the Navy, if only for its own benefit, will see its way to reverse this unfortunate decision. But it is probably too late to save Capt. Crozier's career."

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Theodore Roosevelt's great-grandson is tipping his cap and calling the captain of the aircraft carrier named after this great-grandfather, Capt. Brett Crozier, an American hero, showing the courage his family approves of.
theodore roosevelt, captain, crozier, pandemic, coronavirus, navy
Saturday, 04 April 2020 10:21 AM
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