The U.S. Navy has formally recommended the reinstatement of USS Theodore Roosevelt commander Capt. Brett Crozier, new reports said on Friday.
Multiple reports, including the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, cited Navy officials who said chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Michael M. Gilday, and the acting Navy secretary, James McPherson delivered the recommendation to Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Friday.
Esper is reportedly holding up the reinstatement and asked for more time to make a decision, which came as a surprise to Navy officials.
The results from the Navy’s investigation are expected to be announced publicly on Friday.
Esper and Gilday both previously indicated that Crozier’s reinstatement was a possibility, but was dependent on the results of a complete investigation surrounding his firing and his alleged leak to the media of a letter to his chain of command.
Crozier’s letter pleaded for help in isolating his crew amid a coronavirus outbreak board the aircraft carrier. The letter was leaked to the media, and days later on April 2, the Navy relieved him, citing “lost confidence in his ability to lead.”
Then acting-Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly told the USS Theodore Roosevelt crew, “If he [Crozier] didn’t think, in my opinion, that this information [the letter] wasn’t going to get out into the public, in this day and information age that we live in, then he was either A, too naive or too stupid to be a commanding officer of a ship like this. The alternative is that he did this on purpose.”
Days after being relieved of command, Crozier tested positive for coronavirus and went into quarantine.
The Navy said on Friday that all of the nearly 5,000 crew members aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt had been tested for coronavirus, with 840 testing positive and 4,098 testing negative, USA Today reported. Among the 840 positive cases, 88 sailors have recovered from the virus.
One sailor died last week after he was found unresponsive in his quarters and spent several days in the intensive care unit.