The Navy and Its Coronavirus Response
“This morning I accepted Secretary Modly’s resignation,” Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper said in a statement. “He resigned on his own accord, putting the Navy and the Sailors above self so that the USS Theodore Roosevelt, and the Navy as an institution, can move forward.”
But Modly took on intense scrutiny after the firing of Capt. Crozier. The skipper sounded the alarm, pleading for help in a letter that went public. Crozier voiced loud concern that his ship, the USS Theodore Roosevelt, was becoming overrun with COVID-19. He demanded help for his sailors, saying famously “We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die.”
“If he didn’t think, in my opinion, that this information wasn’t going to get out to the public, in this day and information age that we live in, then he was either too naive or too stupid to be a commanding officer of a ship like this,” Modly said after dismissing Crozier, reported cnn.com. “The alternative is that he did this on purpose.”
Capt. Crozier Beloved
The Navy also faced intense scrutiny over the use of hospital ships Mercy and Comfort. However, after deploying to New York and Los Angeles amid much fanfare, the media and public soured on the effort. After multiple reports showed only 15-20 patients were being treated aboard Mercy and Comfort, health officials spoke out.
“If I’m blunt about it, it’s a joke,” Michael Dowling, the head of Northwell Health, New York’s largest hospital system, told nytimes.com. “Everyone can say, ‘Thank you for putting up these wonderful places and opening up these cavernous halls.’ But we’re in a crisis here, we’re in a battlefield.”
The ensuring public outcry forced the Navy to rethink its floating hospital. The Comfort, docked in New York, now will admit COVID-19 patients, completely revamping the mission on the fly. It’s the latest knee-jerk reaction by the Navy, as it continues to bail the water of scrutiny brought on by poor leadership and even worse decisions during a national crisis.