As you have probably heard or seen in the news by now, the Captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier was relieved of duty on April 2, 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic because he did not respect the Chain of Command by leaking a memo to the press. In the memo, Captain Brett Crozier expressed his concerns about the spread of the coronavirus amongst the crew members of his ship. With great concern for his crew and the feeling he was not being heard, he took action to protect his crew. His actions demonstrate the character and qualities of a true leader, which is needed and should be rewarded. The Navy can penalize him for not adhering to the Chain of Command but do not relieve him of duty for placing the welfare of his crew above everything. Clearly, as a captain, he knew what was at stake and he risked his own career to protect his men – the definition of a true leader.
In my opinion, Captain Brett Crozier’s actions demonstrate the character and qualities of a true leader. He is a true leader, who not only stood up and gave a voice to those who serve under him and who knowingly violated a rule for the greater good of everyone aboard his ship in an unprecedented situation. A true leader does what is right for those who follow him, even if that means breaking a rule or two to protect his followers in extraordinary circumstances. After all, the military usually gives awards to those who go above and beyond the call of duty in unprecedented situations. The Captain’s actions saved lives because he achieved his ultimate goal, which was to bring the USS Theodore Roosevelt back into port and bring the crew ashore to stop the spread of the coronavirus aboard the ship. If he hadn’t leaked the memo, more of his crew members would have suffered and even potentially died from the coronavirus, and the world would not have known until it was too late. Losing sailors or any service member during this epidemic is an unnecessary tragedy.
Now, do I think he should have been relieved of duty? No, he should not have been relieved of duty. In my opinion, he should receive a punishment for his violation of the Chain of Command because keeping the Navy Code of Conduct is important. It sets the standard for everyone to follow, regardless of rank. However, in an unprecedented situation, like the coronavirus pandemic, the rules or Code of Conduct need to be flexible in order to save lives. A true leader guards and protects his men in extenuating circumstances and makes decisions to put his men above himself, which Captain Brett Crozier has clearly done. He has earned the respect of his men too, as the video of Captain Brett Crozier leaving the USS Theodore Roosevelt for the final time, shows.