- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 29, 2020

The top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said Wednesday the removal of Capt. Brett Crozier from the coronavirus-stricken USS Theodore Roosevelt was “unorthodox” and that the Navy investigation into the situation should be “thorough and expeditious.”

“The removal of Captain Crozier was highly unorthodox and the recommendations of the military leadership on his reinstatement should be heavily weighed,” said Sen. Jack Reed, Rhode Island Democrat and ranking member of the panel, in a statement.

Capt. Crozier was ousted after a letter he wrote pleading for help for his coronavirus-stricken crew was published in the San Francisco Chronicle. Top military leaders in the Pentagon advised former acting Secretary Thomas Modly, who himself was fired over the matter, to await the results of an investigation before removing Capt. Crozier from command, to no avail.

Hours earlier, acting Navy Secretary James E. McPherson announced his branch would expand an investigation into the aircraft carrier. As of Tuesday, the Navy reported that 940 crew members had active cases of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and at least 29 had recovered.

Mr. Reed explained he had been briefed by Mr. McPhereson about the preliminary investigation which “led to more questions and that a follow on investigation is warranted.”

“I share the frustrations of the American people, the crewmembers of the Roosevelt, and the entire United States Navy,” Mr. Reed said. “We all want this matter resolved in a just and timely manner based on the facts.”

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