Navy Boss Blasts Fired Captain as 'Naive or Stupid' to Crew

Modly attacks Crozier in speech to Roosevelt's sailors
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 6, 2020 5:25 PM CDT
Navy Boss Blasts Fired Captain as 'Naive or Stupid' to Crew
Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly, shown in December, defended his decision to fire the USS Roosevelt's captain to the ship's crew.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

On Friday, the crew of the USS Theodore Roosevelt gave its fired captain an emotional sendoff, cheering and chanting his name as walked off the ship in Guam. On Monday, the Roosevelt hosted an event that was less of a feel-good moment. Thomas Modly, the acting Navy secretary who removed Capt. Brett Crozier last week, addressed the crew over a loudspeaker, the Wall Street Journal reports. Modly gave the crew an earful. He defended his decision to relieve Crozier, who had written a letter to his bosses asking for help with a coronavirus outbreak on the ship—and then distributed it—while blasting him. "If he didn’t think, in my opinion, that this information wasn’t going to get out into the public, in this information age we live in," Modly told the crew, "then he was either too naive or too stupid to be a commanding officer of a ship like this."

The speech was filled with profanity and included shots at Crozier's integrity. A crew member described it as "whiny, upset, irritated, condescending," per the New York Times. Sailors have to "keep their shit together and take care of each other," Modly told them. He called Crozier's actions a "betrayal" and referred to his attempt to be a "martyr." Crozier has tested positive for the coronavirus. Sen. Tim Kaine, a Democrat, criticized Modly's words, saying, "These dedicated sailors deserve better from their leadership." In a statement later to the Times, Modly said that he hadn't listened to the recording of his speech, but that "the spoken words were from the heart." He added, "I stand by every word I said, even, regrettably any profanity that may have been used for emphasis." (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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