US Navy Secretary Thomas Modly has resigned after he denigrated the ousted Captain Brett Crozier and rebuked the crew-members according to the captain, a warm ovation as he disembarked the coronavirus infected ship, docked at Guam.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper accepted the resignation and announced that he was appointing James McPherson, a retired rear admiral and current undersecretary of the army, to replace Modly. McPherson is the third US Navy Secretary in last four months, Guardian reported. Here's a timeline of events that unfolded around USS Theodore Roosevelt:
Coronavirus outbreak on USS Theodore Roosevelt
Novel coronavirus outbreak onboard USS Theodore Roosevelt was first reported on March 24, when three sailors on board tested positive. Cases surged quickly thereafter. As on April 8, 155 crew-members have tested positive for novel coronavirus.
The ship visited Port Da Nang, Vietnam, in early March, which might have been the source of coronavirus outbreak.
Captain Brett Crozier writes a 4-page memo
On March 30, Capt Brett Crozier sent a memo to his superiors asking for permission to allow his crew to disembark, to prevent members from being exposed to coronavirus.
"We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die," Crozier wrote in the memo that was leaked in the press and published the next day in the San Francisco Chronicle.
On April 2, Crozier was ousted by Navy Secretary Thomas Modly. The sight of crew-members cheering as the captain disembarked the ship, went viral. Days later, Captain Crozier himself tested positive for COVID-19.
Navy Secretary Thomas Modly arrives in Guam
On April 5, Navy Secretary Thomas Modly flew thousands of miles to Guam and addressed over 2,500 crew-members. He said what the captain did "was very, very wrong" and amounted to "a betrayal of trust with me, with his chain of command."
"If he didn't think that information was going to get out into the public, then he was a) too naive or too stupid to be the commanding officer of a ship like this."
"The alternative is he did it on purpose," he added. He also rebuked the members for cheering for the ousted captain, as he disembarked the warship. After the speech was leaked in the press, Modly said he stood by "every word" including the profanities he used.
Thomas Modly apologizes
The next day, President Donald Trump said that he would intervene in the dispute. "You have two good gentlemen and they're arguing. I'm good at resolving arguments", Trump said. The same day, Secretary Modly issued an apology. "I do not think Captain Brett Crozier is naive or stupid. I think, and always believed him to be the opposite," he wrote.
It was Defense Secretary Mark Esper who reportedly told him to issue the apology.
Thomas Modly resigns
On April 7, the Navy Secretary Thomas Modly resigned. "More than anything, I owe every member of the Navy and Marine Corps team a lifetime of gratitude for the opportunity to serve for them, and with them, once again. They are the reason why I will forever remain inspired by the call of service. They are the ones who lift our nation, heal our divides, and make this country the greatest in the history of the world," he wrote in his resignation addressed to the Defense Secretary.
"That is why with a heavy heart, I hereby submit my resignation, effective immediately. The men and women of the Department of the Navy deserve continuity of civilian leadership befitting our great Republic and the decisive naval force that secures our way of life. I will be forever grateful for my opportunity, and the blessing, to be part of it," he added.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper accepted the resignation and appointed army undersecretary James McPherson for the Navy's top job.