• Crozier was relieved of command after asking superiors for help in handling the shipboard outbreak
  • Rear Adm. Stuart Baker, who was aboard the Roosevelt at the time, also was faulted and his promotion to two-star admiral was held up
  • Crozier earned praise from his crew for his actions

Navy officials Friday permanently relieved Capt. Brett Crozier of command, deciding against restoring him to the helm of the USS Theodore Roosevelt and denying him any future command for his handling of the coronavirus outbreak aboard the vessel.

Crozier earned praise from the ship’s crew for seeking help to stem the outbreak, put the health of sailors ahead of his career.

Adm. Michael Gilday, chief of Naval Operations, told reporters at the Pentagon that Crozier will be barred from future command but no further disciplinary action would be taken. In addition, the promotion of Rear Adm. Stuart Baker, who was aboard the Roosevelt at the time, to two-star admiral would be postponed.

Gilday, who initially recommended Crozier be reinstated, said the dismissal was the result of the captain’s poor decision-making regarding the pandemic. He said the subsequent two-month investigation showed Crozier and Baker fell “well short of what we expect of those in command.”

“Had I known then what I know today, I would not have made that recommendation to reinstate Captain Crozier,” Gilday said. “Moreover, if Captain Crozier were still in command today, I would be relieving him.”

Crozier was faulted for lifting the quarantine on some sailors, putting other crew members at risk.

Crozier was relieved of his command in April as the coronavirus sickened 200 sailors. The ship was quarantined in Guam for weeks before resuming operations in the Philippine Sea this month with Capt. Carlos Sardiello at the helm.

Crozier penned a letter to superiors in early April in which he warned of the danger the coronavirus presented to his crew.

“We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die. If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset — our sailors,” said the letter said, which was obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle.

The outbreak on the Roosevelt was the largest single outbreak in the military with hundreds of sailors testing positive. At least one sailor died.