If you wanna be pissed the fuck off, read this story. The US Navy making the disastrous decision to fire this guy should make your blood boil. Just this morning, the Zero Blog Thirty squad spent about 10 minutes praising this Captain, the Sec Navy, the Commander of the 7th Fleet, and the Secretary of Defense. Everyone took a Captain going outside of the chain of command on the chin because it ended up being the right thing to do. As a typical chain of command respecter, I love this move from the Skipper. I really do, because if the calls for the sailors' health and well-being really were being slow-played and slow-walked up the chain of command, what other real steps did the Skipper have? He wrote some lines in his 4-page letter which explained the dire situation at sea. This letter was certainly one that I think was designed for the media to see and it has some lines that should stick with you if you like military and courageous leadership. This Captain said that,
“This will require a political solution but it is the right thing to do,” Crozier wrote. “We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die. If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset — our Sailors.”
In the four-page letter to senior military officials, Crozier said only a small contingent of infected sailors have been off-boarded. Most of the crew remain aboard the ship, where following official guidelines for 14-day quarantines and social distancing is impossible.
“Due to a warship’s inherent limitations of space, we are not doing this,” Crozier wrote. “The spread of the disease is ongoing and accelerating.”
Just yesterday, the Acting Secretary of the Navy had a very different tune about the Captain. He said that,
That's where it should have stopped but now he is getting relieved because they lost confidence after the letter got to the media. If I was the Skipper, I wouldn't care about getting relieved. I would only care that I did everything in my power to see that my Sailors got the medical treatment they needed and that operational risks were mitigated as best as possible. If the true reason for the Navy being in those waters is to be a deterrent to the rest of the world, higher-level leaders have got to know that there is no deterrent with a ship that is overwhelmed with coronavirus. Mission accomplishment before troop welfare only goes so far. You have got to live to fight another day when dying at the hands of a foreign foe during wartime isn't even at stake. This is essentially a peace-time training ship that is Pacific to train and maintain. There is no ACTUAL war effort that the Roosevelt is fighting right now. Nothing imminent. The most imminent threat to these sailors was an unseen virus roaming through the tightly-spaced berthings. The Captain engaged that threat but not with some howitzers or torpedos but with seemingly common sense. Get the sailors the fuck off the ship. Some of those sailors are legit fighting for their lives right now. They have a fighting chance because their Captain went outside the chain of command in a time that he felt warranted it and I agree.
If the close living and working proximity of this ship is like it is in other ships this size, social distancing when 200 people are infected is not possible for the 3800 who are not. This could have gotten out of hand very quickly. Thanks to the Captain and his actions, it did not.
Now people are stuck in Guam, living in tent cities, and wondering why the 7th Fleet didn't do more faster.
Tomorrow, they'll be wondering why their Captain, who possibly saved their lives, lost his career because of it. That's the rub, though. A Captain with that level of experience, experience enough to warrant him command of an Air Craft Carrier, knew what he was doing when he turned on his computer to pen that 4-page letter. He did it anyway. He knew he was effectively giving up a star and the rest of his career. That's a lesson in leadership. It was a selfless act. It was the right action.
Cant wait to have him on the podcast one day.
We deep dive into the issue tomorrow on Zero Blog Thirty. Be sure to listen.