WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today issued the following statement in response to the Secretary of Defense’s decision to hold the results of the Navy’s investigation of the COVID-19 outbreak aboard the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt:
“The Secretary of Defense needs to reinstate Captain Brett Crozier as commanding officer of the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt. While Captain Crozier’s actions at the outset of the health crisis aboard the TR were drastic and imperfect, it is clear he only took such steps to protect his crew.
“Not only did Captain Crozier have the full support of his crew, he also attempted to work within his chain of command. During this time of crisis, Captain Crozier is exactly what our Sailors need: a leader who inspires confidence.
“The decision to relieve Captain Crozier in the first place was made by Former Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly. Modly's subsequent decision to board the U.S.S. Roosevelt and deliver a petty, obscenity-laced speech attacking Captain Crozier while the crew of the Roosevelt dealt with the COVID-19 outbreak should seriously call into question Modly's decision making ability in general, and makes it all the more clear that his decision to relieve Captain Crozier was completely wrong. Captain Crozier should be reinstated to his command immediately."