This resignation was the only possible outcome of what can only be described as one of the most outlandish and bombastic public speeches by a person in uniform.
Thomas Modly, the acting Navy secretary, resigned today following his absurd and completely bungled response to an outbreak of the virus aboard the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt. The episode had engulfed the Navy in a public relations disaster, and left many folks, such as your blogger, aghast at the tin-ear nature of Modly.
Modly’s departure marks the latest in a string of events that began last week, after The San Francisco Chronicle published a letter in which the Roosevelt’s commander, Capt. Brett Crozier, pleaded with the Navy to help contain the virus that had spread rapidly through his ship. It was an appropriate way to get attention to a medical necessity.
The Navy has since announced more than 170 coronavirus cases aboard the Roosevelt since the outbreak started in late March, after the ship had docked in Da Nang, Vietnam.
Modly had the temerity to fire Crozier after accusing him of circumventing the Navy’s traditional chain of command by copying more than 20 people on the emailed letter. That firing sent shock waves through the crew, which was only exacerbated Monday when Modly flew to Guam, where the Roosevelt is now docked, and said Captain Crozier was “too naïve or too stupid to be a commanding officer of a ship like this.”
He also rebuked the crew for having cheered their captain as he left the ship. I am certain that the crew had choice words among themselves for such a low-blow comment.
Modly is a prime example of what needs to be thrown overboard, so his resignation today is the only fitting end to his abhorrent behavior. This embarrassing chapter has now concluded.
Except for the exoneration of Crozier. That needs to happen.