Because he felt like he was out of options, former Captain Brett E. Crozier of the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) wrote a letter to the Pentagon asking for permission to offload his crew in Guam because an increasing number of them were testing positive for the coronavirus.
The existence of Crozier's letter was picked up by the media and it led to the Pentagon offloading thousands of crew members into hotel rooms in Guam, but it also resulted in Crozier being relieved from duty by Navy Secretary Thomas Modly.
Modly has now addressed the crew of the Roosevelt and he used the opportunity to smear Crozier as "too naive" and "too stupid" to command a ship.
From Task & Purpose:
“If he didn't think, in my opinion, that this information wasn't going to get out into the public, in this day and information age that we live in, then he was either A, too naive, or too stupid to be a commanding officer of a ship like this,” Modly told the Theodore Roosevelt’s crew on April 5. “The alternative is that he did this on purpose. And that's a serious violation of the UCMJ which you are all familiar with.” [...]
Modly also chastised the Theodore Roosevelt’s crew for cheering Crozier when he left the ship, claiming the former commanding officer’s memo caused concern among residents of Guam, where the ship is currently docked.
“So think about that when you cheer the man of the ship who exposed you to that,” Moldy said. “I understand you love the guy. It's good that you love him. But you're not required to love him.”
"Crew of the Teddy Roosevelt, you are under no obligation to love your leadership, only respect it," he continued. "You are under no obligation to like your job, only to do it. You are under no obligation, you are under no obligation to expect anything from your leaders other than they will treat you fairly and put the mission of the ship first."
The captain was "too stupid" if he thought his letter wouldn't leak says the man who spoke to roughly 3,000 crew members over an open broadcast system.
Thanks to someone aboard the Roosevelt, you can listen to a recording of Modly's rant here. And when Modly says Captain Crozier was "too naive" and "too stupid," you can hear a sailor appropriately say "what the fuck?"
The Washington Post reported over the weekend that Modly told a colleague that Trump wanted Captain Crozier fired.
Modly told one colleague Wednesday, the day before he announced the move: “Breaking news: Trump wants him fired.” Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper apparently obtained White House approval for a preliminary investigation into Crozier’s conduct, a probe that Modly preempted with the firing. Esper appears to have left the final decision about how to handle the matter to Modly, who last month was passed over as Trump’s permanent choice for the job.
I would just like to point out that Thomas Modly is a former Navy helicopter pilot but he has spent most of his life in private business at global accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. Modly has never commanded a ship.
Captain Crozier, on the other hand, is a former helicopter and fighter pilot who became a squadron commander, among other things, before eventually commanding the USS Ronald Reagan and the USS Blue Ridge before he took command of the USS Theodore Roosevelt.
"Imagine if a Democrat did it" is probably implied here, but seriously -- can you even imagine? Support the troops, Republicans have always said, unless doing so is politically inconvenient. In the latter case, feel free to smear the troops who've served the country for going on three decades. Crozier first entered service in 1994.