The US naval commander whose widely publicized plea for help for his coronavirus-affected crew led to his dismissal has reportedly himself tested positive for the disease.
Captain Brett Crozier's COVID-19 test result was reported Sunday by the New York Times, just hours after US Defense Secretary Mark Esper defended the captain's firing.Esper told ABC that Navy Secretary Thomas Modly had "made a tough decision, tough call" in deciding to fire Crozier from his command of the aircraft carrier USS Roosevelt, now docked in Guam.
Asked about a report that President Donald Trump wanted Crozier fired, Esper replied, "This was the secretary's call. He came and briefed me ... It was the secretary's call. I told him I would support it."
The firing was widely condemned as a callous and unfair punishment of a respected officer who was looking out for the welfare of his crew when he implored his superiors to let him quickly vacate the ship after it docked in Guam.
"We are not at war," Crozier wrote in a letter that leaked to the press. "Sailors do not need to die."
But some senior Pentagon officials said Crozier erred by letting his plea go public.
The military has also been called to help the fight against the coronavirus inside the US.Trump said Saturday that 1,000 military personnel, mostly doctors and nurses, would be deployed to help in New York City, the epicenter of the US outbreak.
Troops have already been helping out at the Javits Convention Center, which has been transformed into an enormous hospital.