The House Oversight Subcommittee on National Security is looking into the dismissal of Capt. Brett Crozier, who was fired after he wrote a leaked memo outlining his concerns of how a coronavirus outbreak on the USS Theodore Roosevelt was being handled. According to Politico, the committee has requested “any and all documents and communications” related to the ship’s March visit to Vietnam and the outbreak on the ship that has sickened at least at least 230 of the 5,000 sailors on-board.
This comes after reports that Defense Secretary Mark Esper directed acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly to apologize for his remarks about Crozier he made to the USS Theodore Roosevelt’s crew just hours after the military official had publicly doubled down and said they were “from the heart.” According to CNN, the defense secretary’s order prompted Modly’s apology about his speech—in which he called Crozier “stupid” and suggested that the crew’s former commander purposely leaked his memo outlining his concerns of a coronavirus outbreak on the ship.
Modly’s speech was not taken very well by the USS Theodore Roosevelt’s crew. According to The New York Times, many of the members thought Modly was calling them stupid for putting their faith in Crozier. Junior sailors reportedly approached a crew member after the speech, seeking to leave the Navy after their first enlistment. While Modly claimed in his speech that he had been looking forward to seeing the crew, he did not tour the ship and many did not even see him. He reportedly left in less than 30 minutes.