The Acting Secretary of the U.S. Navy has stepped down owning responsibility for the controversy over his handling of a coronavirus outbreak on aircraft carrier the USS Theodore Roosevelt.
Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly dismissed the coronavirus-stricken war ship’s captain Brett Crozier after he pleaded for help in a letter leaked to media.
The letter criticized the Navy’s management of a COVID-19 outbreak on board the ship, and recommended decisive action to deal with it.
Modly fired Crozier from command of Theodore Roosevelt on April 2 saying that he had lost confidence in Crozier’s judgment after the captain emailed a letter to Navy officials and copied it to persons outside his chain of command.
He called the ship commander’s actions “naive” and “stupid” while delivering a speech to the crew on Monday.
Later, Modly apologized for it.
Democratic Congressmen had called on the Pentagon to investigate Modly’s actions, and sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper calling for his dismissal.
Esper accepted Modly’s resignation on Tuesday and replaced him with Army Under Secretary Jim McPherson.
He expressed confidence that McPherson “will restore confidence and stability in the Navy during these challenging times.”
Jim will serve as acting Secretary of the Navy until a permanent Navy Secretary is confirmed.
Esper said the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Gilday, launched an investigation last week regarding the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt incident.
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