(NEW YORK) — Videos have emerged on social media showing sailors on the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt giving their fired captain a rousing sendoff as he left the ship.
Capt. Breet Crozier was relieved of duty for a “loss of confidence” following the leak of a letter in which he advocated for stronger measures to protect his crew from an outbreak of coronavirus aboard the ship.
The videos show hundreds of sailors gathered in the ship’s hangar clapping and cheering loudly for Crozier as he walked down a ramp towards the pier in Guam where the ship is docked.
Given that they were posted on social media, the videos were presumably taken by sailors aboard the ship on Thursday evening following word that Crozier had been relieved of command.
Crozier is seen walking alone towards the ramp as hundreds of sailors walked behind him clapping and then cheering for him.
At one point, he stopped at the top of the ramp to salute and wave at clapping sailors, which drew even louder cheers.
In one of the videos capturing that moment, voices can be heard saying, “We love you, too!” and “Thank you skipper!”
Later, the ship’s crew is heard rhythmically clapping and chanting, “CAPTAIN! CROZIER!”
Earlier on Thursday, Crozier was relieved of duty by acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly who said he had lost confidence in his leadership abilities following the leak of a letter where Crozier advocated for stronger measures to protect his ship’s crew from further infection by the coronavirus.
Modly said Crozier had expressed valid concerns for the safety of his ship but had exercised “poor judgment” in distributing the letter to senior commanders to a broad group of people when he could have expressed his concerns to the admiral aboard the carrier.
In the letter Crozier advocated Navy leaders to speed up the removal of the nearly 5,000 sailors aboard the carrier to appropriate accommodations on Guam that met social distancing guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The day after the letter appeared in the San Francisco Examiner the Navy announced that 2,700 of the ship’s crew were being brought ashore and that suitable housing would be found in hotel rooms on the island.
Modly said the Navy had already put those plans in place at the time that Crozier wrote his letter and that he would have known that had he contacted his chain of command directly.
“It creates a panic, and it creates the perception that the Navy is not on the job, the government’s not on the job, and it’s just not true,” Modly said.
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