Thomas Modly: Through The Glass Darkly

This is probably a week overdue but this stuff is starting to wear on my a bit. But this timeline and the absurdities displayed are indicative of the lack of leadership coming out of the Oval Office…and worse yet…the tendency to go with the prevailing wind.

But this byzantine story starts with a desperate captain of an American aircraft carrier trying to get help for his crew as they began to exhibit signs of the coronavirus. Captain Brett Crozier sent out a memo requesting that his crew be quarantined and those with medical needs get attention. He particularly wanted to get them off the USS Theodore Roosevelt which could act like in incubator just like a cruise ship if something wasn’t done.

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

For the sake of the crew, this memo became public and the Navy was forced to act. To the detriment of the captain, this memo became public and embarrassed the White House.

Knowing that the President was angry, Acting U.S. Navy Secretary Thomas Modly, relieved Captain Crozier of his command.

Modly said the letter was sent through the chain of command but Crozier did not safeguard it from being released outside the chain.

“He sent it out pretty broadly and in sending it out pretty broadly, he did not take care to ensure that it couldn’t be leaked and that’s part of his responsibility,” Modly said.

“It raised alarm bells unnecessarily,” he added.

emphasis mine

No, I don’t think alarm bells were raised unnecessarily…considering the inept handling of the COVID-19 pandemic by the White House…my gut tells me this needed to be done to get the proper response from the Navy.

Now, originally, I thought that Mr. Modly was going to turn out to be some Trump regime sycophant who had come from the lobbying industry or military industrial complex. But no, he’s a former Navy guy and graduate of the US Naval Academy. So he should have known better. Yes, Capt. Crozier could have been more careful but his responsibility is to protect his crew. Why wasn’t Mr. Modly’s first response the same?

But once again, why would his first reaction be to assuage the hurt feelings of the President and not protect the sailors and assets of the United States Navy? What good is a ship full of sick and dying in the middle of the Pacific when we rely on them to protect us from North Korea and China? What does the President have on these guys?

But in the meantime, Capt. Crozier receives a hero’s send off from the crew of the Roosevelt when he departs the ship.

The captain of a U.S. aircraft carrier relieved of his command after seeking stronger measures in response to a coronavirus outbreak aboard his ship was given a hero’s ovation by his crew when he left the vessel, video posted on Twitter showed.

A brief clip showed Captain Brett Crozier walking down the gangplank of the Theodore Roosevelt as crew members repeatedly chanted “Captain Crozier, Captain Crozier!”

Crozier turned to wave at the crew after he stepped ashore in Guam

So what Mr. Modly did next is really pretty much idiocy. After ‘firing’ Capt. Crozier, he flew out to Guam to address the crew of the USS TR. And of course support his own position by running down the captain to the crew. The crew whose lives Capt. Crozier was trying to save in the apparent face of Navy disinterest.

In a surprise speech to crew members of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt that was meant to be a private address, Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly defended his decision to relieve Captain Brett Crozier of his command due to the leak.

If he didn’t think that information was going to get out into the public in this information age that we live in, then he was A, too naive or too stupid to be a commanding officer of a ship like this,” Modly said on the carrier while it was docked in Guam….

emphasis mine

What is incredible here…is after calling Capt. Crozier stupid for not thinking his memo would get out and cause trouble, Mr. Modly never stopped to think this his comments wouldn’t get out and cause trouble. And they most certainly did.

But let’s back up a second to the what I highlighted above. He was pissed because the memo got leaked. Not actually because it got written or distributed…but because it got leaked. And made the President mad and put the ACTING Secretary in an awkward position. A real rock and hard place situation for a member of the Trump regime.

And, while denigrating the Captain, Mr. Modly took broad swipes at the crew as well. That can’t be good for morale or the chain of command.

Speaking on the ship, Modly urged the crew to stop complaining about their predicament, which he said made the Navy look weak.

Modly also accused Crozier of betraying his duty as an officer.

It was betrayal,” Modly said. “And I can tell you one other thing, because he did that he put it in the public’s forum and it’s now become a big controversy in Washington D.C., and across the country.”

emphasis mine

Betrayal of the crew? Or of Mr. Modly and the President?

A sailor on board the ship told Reuters that Modly’s speech only angered the crew.

“Nobody likes what he had to say… He made everyone more irritated,” said the sailor, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

And then it gets truly weird as the President says he doesn’t want to run Capt. Crozier’s career over a simple mistake, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper supports Mr. Modly!

In two television interviews, Esper said acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly made a “very tough decision” last Thursday to oust Capt. Brett Crozier of command of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, which was docked in Guam, and that he supported the decision.

“This could ultimately come to my desk,” he said. “I think Secretary Modly laid out very reasonably, very deliberately the reasons why. And I think, when all those facts come to bear, we will have a chance to understand why Secretary Modly did what he did.”

And the President?

Crozier should not have sent his letter, but he did not “want to destroy somebody for having a bad day,” Trump said.

You will notice that Capt. Crozier has not been restored to the USS Theodore Roosevelt…

But Mr. Modly did in fact apologize…after all hell broke loose:

Acting U.S. Navy Secretary Thomas Modly issued an apology on Monday to the former commander of a coronavirus-stricken aircraft carrier after sharply criticizing him in a speech to his crew, just days after firing him.

“I do not think Captain Brett Crozier is naive nor stupid,” Modly said amid calls for his removal, including from the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, a Democrat.

The apology, which Modly also extended to the carrier’s crew and Crozier’s family, was a reversal from a statement the Navy’s top civilian issued hours earlier that said: “I stand by every word I said.”

emphasis mine

I stand by every word I said until the overwhelming opinion tells me I am wrong. It took a lot of guts to make this apology and he needed to make it but once again I think he ended up on the wrong side of the President.

And then this happened and although the President claims he had no hand in it…that seems hard to believe. He has a hand in everything. But whether he did or not, his defense department seems to be in total disarray.

Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly resigned on Tuesday after he faced mounting backlash for firing and ridiculing the commander of a U.S. aircraft carrier who pleaded for help stemming a coronavirus outbreak onboard.

Modly’s resignation highlighted the U.S. military’s struggle to meet increasingly competing priorities: maintaining readiness for conflict and safeguarding service members as the virus spreads globally.

So he fell on his sword:

“It’s my fault. I own it.”

but this came out as well:

Modly’s apology also did little to mollify the crew on the carrier.

“He said what he said and nobody is going to forget it,” a sailor on the carrier told Reuters.

Modly made the trip to Guam against the advice of his aides, doubling down on his decision to fire Crozier despite warnings that his trip might make the situation worse.

So it seems his ignorance and ego are fashioned in a similar vein to the President’s and it is probably a good thing that he’s gone…but replacements in the Trump regime tend to trend downward.

But this whole story gets even weirder…a trip that needn’t have happened…that shouldn’t have been taken…cost you and me:

Modly’s controversial trip to Guam over the weekend where he ridiculed the commander of a coronavirus-stricken U.S. aircraft carrier cost taxpayers at least $243,000, officials said on Wednesday.

Two U.S. officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Modly flew for about 35 hours on a C-37B, the military version of a Gulfstream jet.

The officials said that based on the flying time, the cost was $243,151.65.

We coulda bought a few ventilators for that money.

And some sad news reported yesterday: U.S. Sailor From Coronavirus-Hit Aircraft Carrier Dies After Contracting Virus.

A U.S. Navy sailor died on Monday after contracting the coronavirus aboard the U.S. aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, whose captain was fired after warning his crew would die unnecessarily unless strong action was taken.

The sailor, the first active-duty U.S. service member to die from coronavirus complications, was admitted to intensive care on April 9 after being found unresponsive in his quarters. The sailor had tested positive exactly two weeks ago on March 30, the Navy said.

And despite Capt. Crozier’s valiant efforts:

So far, about 12% of the Theodore Roosevelt’s crew of 4,800 have tested positive for COVID-19…

So why this long winded diatribe? This is a perfect example…completely out in the open…of the Trump regime’s inability to govern and the President’s unfitness for office. And if he isn’t willing to protect our service members who he has extolled time and time again and promised to take care of…why does anyone else in America think he has their best interests at heart? He doesn’t…and if the pandemic hadn’t gone out of control, he’d have been golfing this past weekend instead of tweeting from the East Wing.


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