Breaking News Today

Cheers for US commander who issued coronavirus warning

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

New video obtained by CNN shows a large crowd cheering for a US captain relieved of his command after issuing a stark warning about a coronavirus outbreak onboard his vessel.

Sailors aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier have cheered for Capt Brett Crozier as he disembarked the ship for the last time, an overwhelming show of support for their leader who was relieved of his command after issuing a stark warning about a coronavirus outbreak onboard.

New video obtained by CNN shows a large crowd gathered to give Capt Crozier a warm and loud send off, clapping and chanting his name as he left the ship.

It was a clear expression of appreciation for their former commander who was removed for what the acting Navy Secretary called "poor judgment".

"Today at my direction the commanding officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, Captain Brett Crozier, was relieved of command by carrier strike group commander Rear Admiral Stewart Baker," acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly announced yesterday.

The decision came days after Capt Crozier wrote a memo warning Navy leadership that decisive action was needed to save the lives of the ship's crew.

"We are not at war. 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," it read, three US defense officials confirmed to CNN.

News of Capt Crozier's removal comes after a US defense official told CNN this morning that 137 sailors from the Roosevelt have tested positive for the virus, representing more than 10 percent of all cases across the US military.

The US Navy said Friday that 41 percent of the USS Theodore Roosevelt crew has been tested for COVID-19.


"This evening, 400 more Sailors that tested negative will move into Guam hotels for quarantine, bringing the total to 576," a Navy spokesperson told CNN.

"As testing continues, the ship will keep enough Sailors on board to sustain essential services and sanitise the ship in port. There have been zero hospitalisations."

Escalating outbreak

The outbreak on the ship is escalating rapidly. Last week the Pentagon confirmed three sailors on the Roosevelt had tested positive, and that number had risen to 25 two days later.

It rose to at least 70 on Tuesday and more than 100 on Thursday. On Monday, a US defense official told CNN that a second US aircraft carrier, the USS Ronald Reagan, is facing a "handful" of positive cases.

In his memo, Capt Crozier implored Navy leaders to take immediate steps to address the situation.

"Decisive action is required. Removing the majority of personnel from a deployed US nuclear aircraft carrier and isolating them for two weeks may seem like an extraordinary measure," his memo said.

"This is a necessary risk. It will enable the carrier and air wing to get back underway as quickly as possible while ensuring the health and safety of our Sailors.

"Keeping over 4000 young men and women on board the TR is an unnecessary risk and breaks faith with those Sailors entrusted to our care."

But despite saying Thursday that Capt Crozier was right to raise his concerns, acting Navy Secretary Modly told reporters that the captain was removed for showing "extremely poor judgment" and creating a "firestorm" by too widely disseminating the memo detailing his concerns, copying some 20 to 30 people.

READ:  New landmark legislation for bereaved parents welcomed by support services

He said Capt Crozier was not removed because of any evidence suggesting he leaked the memo to the press, but rather for allowing "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".

"I have no information nor am I trying to suggest that he leaked the information. It was published in the San Francisco Chronicle," he added.

"It all came as a big surprise to all of us that it was in the paper, and that's the first time I had seen it."

Those who know Capt Crozier, like retired Cmdr Guy Snodgrass, who commanded a squadron of F-18s deployed to the USS Ronald Reagan when Captn Crozier served as that ship's executive officer, say the now dismissed captain would not have written the letter were he not alarmed for the health and welfare of those under his command and their families.

"He cares about the health and welfare of his Sailors first and foremost," Cmdr Snodgrass said.

"A commanding officer would easily conclude that if his or her actions resulted in an accelerated response to what was judged to be a rapidly deteriorating situation, then the relief from command was easily worth it."

Coronavirus: what you need to know

How is coronavirus transmitted?

The human coronavirus is only spread from someone infected with COVID-19 to another. This occurs through close contact with an infected person through contaminated droplets spread by coughing or sneezing, or by contact with contaminated hands or surfaces

READ:  EU, UK unveil vast trade pact set to enter force on January 1

How can I protect myself and my family?

World Health Organisation and NSW Health both recommend basic hygiene practices as the best way to protect yourself from coronavirus.

Good hygiene includes:

For breaking news alerts and livestreams straight to your smartphone sign up to the 9News app and set notifications to on at the App Store or Google Play. You can also get up-to-date information from the Federal Government's Coronavirus Australia app, available on the App StoreGoogle Play and the Government's WhatsApp channel. With AAP.

Source: 9News

Share This
Finance Advice 2021