WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) – After a coronavirus outbreak onboard his aircraft carrier, Captain Brett Crozier was relieved of his duty.
Navy officials said he raised unnecessary alarm bells and didn’t follow the proper chain of command but many lawmakers think he was treated unfairly.
Nearly two weeks after Captain Crozier was relieved of his duty.
“Captain Crozier was absolutely correct in what he did. He was putting his sailors first,” Representative Jackie Speier, D-California, said.
Lawmakers on the House Armed Services Committee say Crozier should be reinstated as commander of the USS Theodore Roosevelt.
“I think the morale on the ship is such that unless you were to reinstate him, you’d have to do some wholesale changes,” Speier said.
Congresswoman Jackie Speier says Crozier’s distress letter and emails to naval officials, which were leaked to the public, were not grounds to dismiss him.
“I want all of those emails to be reviewed,” Speier said.
She’s calling for an independent inspector general to look into why Crozier’s original requests for help were ignored.
Congressman John Garamendi says he believes Crozier’s removal was political.
“I believe Modly got instructions from the President. Fire that fellow,” Representative John Garamendi, D-California, said.
Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly fired Crozier and then resigned himself after a recording of his profanity-laced tirade against Crozier to sailors on board the Roosevelt went viral.
The Defense Secretary says the Navy has launched an official inquiry.
“The investigation was conducted at my direction,” Mark Esper said.
Esper says the Chief of Naval Operations will look into how the virus got onto the ship and Captain Crozier’s response.
“I don’t know where it will go or where it will take us. But I expect it to be comprehensive,” Esper said.
Congresswoman Speier also wants to know what types of personal protective equipment and testing should be mandatory on all naval ships.