Acting secretary of US Navy resigns after insulting fired aircraft carrier captain

Thomas Modly, Acting Secretary of the US Navy, resigned on April 7 after insulting Capt. Brett E. Crozier, the former commander of the coronavirus-hit aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt.

The resignation comes after Modly called the ousted commander Crozier “naive and stupid” in a speech addressed to the crew of Theodore Roosevelt on April 6.

The speech was leaked to the media and sparked public outcry despite the fact that Modly later apologized.

Mark T. Esper, Secretary of Defense, accepted Modly’s resignation and stated:

“He resigned on his own accord, putting the navy and the sailors above self so that the USS Theodore Roosevelt, and the navy as an institution, can move forward.”

He added that current Army Undersecretary Jim McPherson has been appointed as Acting Secretary of the Navy.

As Naval Today reported last week, Crozier was relieved of command after warning that the navy was not doing enough to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on board the ship docked in Guam. He urged the navy to engage more in battling the pandemic and saving the lives of more than 4,000 sailors. Around 300 of the aircraft carrier sailors have been infected with coronavirus so far, according to local media reports.

Crozier’s removal has been widely criticized and a petition was started at, urging the US Navy to reinstate the former commander. As of April 8, more than 305,000 people have signed the petition.

“Captain Crozier was unjustly relieved of duty of the air craft carrier CVN-71 USS Theodoore Roosevelt on April 2nd 2020. His crime was asking for help regarding the safety of his crew when a covid-19 outbreak,” the petition states.

“His actions possibly saved many lives. Although he was fired, his plan to safely remove crew members was still implemented. He is a hero who should be rewarded,” it continues.

Consequently, the navy launched an investigation last week regarding the USS Theodore Roosevelt and the removed captain.

“Any further action regarding the former commanding officer, Captain Crozier, will wait until that investigation is completed,” Esper added.

Naval Today Staff