I have a personal connection to this story. I worked for Captain Crozier.
I appreciated the opportunity of being apart of his circle. He gets it. He doesn’t see his Sailors as cogs in a machine. He understands the human element of the military, and the need to take care of his sailors. Because of their common backgrounds and training, Naval Officers tend to be quite pompous. If you’re curious what I mean, I have two movies to recommend to you: An Officer and a Gentleman and The Great Santini. Captain Crozier never came off that way. I always felt that I could talk to him, ask questions and get honest answers. Having worked for many military leaders, I was always impressed with his personability.
With that being said here’s a word from Brett’s Commander in Chief…
This story is less about the impact of the coronavirus and more about the state United States military leadership. This global health crisis has helped to reveal the true nature of people in our world.
If you’re not up to speed. Captain Crozier was the commander of a U.S. Navy worship. Onboard that ship, he was responsible for the health and well-being of the 5,000 sailors who worked tirelessly to keep the ship afloat and operational. After discovering that members of his crew contracted the virus, he wrote a letter to his leadership requesting immediate assistance. He said something to the effect of:
My Sailors are sick, and if we don’t do more to help them, people might die. Damn the financial cost, please help us.
The Navy responded with shrugged shoulders and inaction. Well, there was action. They relieved the Captain of his duties and sent him packing. Not for the contents of his letter but for the way in which it was revealed to the public.
It’s similar to a technical foul in basketball. It’s a bogus call used to punish unsportsmanlike behavior.
Of course, they had to find something, citing technical reasons why he was removed from his position. And with that, I have a question:
Is it possible that he had already exhausted all methods of communication before sending that letter?
As the Captain of the ship, he has his own phone and other methods telecommunication. I find if hard to believe he didn’t try once or twice to reach out to someone directly for assistance.
What message does firing Captain Crozier send to other Naval Captains and their Colonel counterparts in the U.S. military?
Many of the papers I wrote in college focused on the military. I remember writing about the shift of U.S. military service into an occupation. Gone are the days of joining to fight a war, and now are the days of joining to find a career. And that’s not a bad thing. We have professional firefighters and professional police officers who serve their communities. The military is no different. We need seasoned professionals to lead the new joins. What is a problem is when these organizations take actions that impact the entirety of the institution. Men and women will see this and think twice about the actions they take. Thinking to protect their careers instead of doing the right thing.
How do you think the action of firing Captain Crozier will impact the U.S. Navy and military as a whole?
I’ll tell you what, I’m quite tired of reading stories of service members dying for nothing. Here in the pacific region, both myself and Captain Crozier were in Yokosuka when the USS Fitzgerald and USS McCain had their collisions (Google it). Incidents that did not need to happen and impacted the faith of Sailors serving on ships. If a Sailor dies from COVID-19, it will have been an unnecessary death, I don’t think that any will. Generally speaking, your average service member is in better shape than most Americans.
I guess this story bothers me so much, because it impacts someone I knew.
I’ve had beers with Captain Crozier. We’ve had lunch and dinners together. He’s a good dude with a good family. His wife volunteered for the American Red Cross, and if I remember correctly, one of his sons enlisted in the U.S. Navy.
The Croziers seek to serve.
It’s one thing when you hear and read stories about folks you don’t know, and it’s another when it’s about someone you know and trust. My fear is that they’re going to try to smear him as if he’s a Captain Owen Honors (Google it), when he was just a guy looking out for the well-being of those he serving under him.