Patterico's Pontifications

4/7/2020

Acting Navy Secretary, Who Maligned Captain Crozier as Naive or Stupid, Resigns

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:13 pm



Good riddance:

Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly resigned Tuesday after traveling nearly 8,000 miles to Guam to berate thousands of sailors on Monday, later saying he stood “by every word,” and then subsequently apologizing for the remarks within the span of about eight hours.

Modly submitted his resignation a day after audio of his speech on the carrier was published by Task & Purpose. James McPherson, Undersecretary of the Army, will reportedly be tapped to replace Modly, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Modly, who came into the job after his predecessor was forced out for going against President Trump during the Eddie Gallagher affair, faced intense pressure to resign over his handling of the situation on the USS Theodore Roosevelt, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier which quickly went from having three COVID-19 cases to hundreds among a crew of nearly 5,000 sailors after a port visit to Vietnam in early March.

Modly spoke over the ship’s intercom for roughly 15 minutes on Monday, chastising sailors who enthusiastically cheered for their captain, Capt. Brett Crozier, as he departed the ship. In his remarks, Modly said Crozier was either “too naive or too stupid to be a commanding officer” of their ship since a letter he wrote to Navy leadership subsequently leaked to the press.

I’ll shed no tears.

61 Responses to “Acting Navy Secretary, Who Maligned Captain Crozier as Naive or Stupid, Resigns”

  1. He definitely failed to rally the ships men around the decision to fire their Captain.
    Have you seen the threats that have gone out to the crew to stop complaining about this?

    Time123 (d1bf33)

  2. I have marked this day as the only time I have every agreed with Speaker Pelosi without reservation. He should be removed, and now has “self removed.”

    Tregonsee (d35e5f)

  3. This administration churns through appointees at an amazing rate.

    Time123 (b87ded)

  4. We need the humor these days; pretty funny when you consider he literally tinfished himself with a similar torpedo after attacked the Captain for being “too naive or too stupid to be a commanding officer” by not realizing that critical comments could or would go public in the ‘information age.’

    “I could just scream!” – Captain Wallace Binghampton [Joe Flynn] ‘McHale’s Navy’ ABC TV, 1962-1966

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  5. “All the best people.”

    Today Trump also fired the chair of the oversight committee for the $500B coronavirus slush fund.

    Trump removes independent watchdog tasked with overseeing coronavirus emergency funds

    Must have applied insufficient polish to the presidential knob.

    And that just won’t do.

    Dave (1bb933)

  6. They were right to fire the captain. the Roosevelt was deployed in the Western pacific. The captain sent a copy of his letter to the San Francisco Chronicle. You guys seem to think that’s fine.
    Suppose you were stationed in the central highlands, as my brother was, in 1969. Suppose the Commanding officer of his base (Ban Me Thuot, sight of the NVA breakthrough in 1975), out of frustration with the chain of command, told the san Francisco chronicle that he had no ammunition. We all know the Chronicle would have published it. Within 10 minutes of publication the Chinese Consul would have seen the article and called what was then called Peking. By the time the trucks carrying the ammunition arrived the VC would have been through the wire, and you idiots would likely be names on a wall with your remains down to a skeleton after 50 years in the cemetery.
    They were right to fire the captain.
    What a bunch of dumbasses.

    ron (99fd67)

  7. They were right to fire the captain. the Roosevelt was deployed in the Western pacific. The captain sent a copy of his letter to the San Francisco Chronicle. You guys seem to think that’s fine.

    Do you have some proof that he did this?

    Regardless, they can be right to fire the Captain (I think they were) and Modly could have been right to resign for making a bad situation worse.

    Time123 (d1bf33)

  8. Regardless, they can be right to fire the Captain (I think they were) and Modly could have been right to resign for making a bad situation worse.

    Yes, this was poorly handled all around.

    And you can say the same thing on other topics. It is not a contradiction to say that Trump handled things poorly, and that the CDC and FDA also did.

    Bored Lawyer (56c962)

  9. Suppose…

    a hypothetical that doesn’t exist in reality. OK, great. Since it didn’t happen that way, the supposition of things not done in the case of other things not done, doesn’t mean that reality didn’t happen.

    Reality exists, it’s best to deal with it. If you want to assume fantasies are reality, that’s 100% your business.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (305827)

  10. And you can say the same thing on other topics. It is not a contradiction to say that Trump handled things poorly, and that the CDC and FDA also did

    He’s been in charge of those Orgs for 3 years. Their failures also reflect on him.

    Time123 (d1bf33)

  11. “The captain did something wrong. He didn’t have to be a Hemingway.” – President Donald J. Trump – 4/7/2020

    The Old Man and the Sea…

    “And one thing more. War is a 24-hour job. There will be no more novel-writing on the Caine!”- Captain Queeg [Humphrey Bogart] ‘The Caine Mutiny’ 1954

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  12. He’s been in charge of those Orgs for 3 years. Their failures also reflect on him.

    Yes and no. The “buck stops here” is certainly something I agree with, and Trump has to take some of the blame.

    But the federal bureaucracy is so vast and intricate that not all the blame can be placed at his feet, particularly on more technical issues. When COVID first started, local doctors in Washington wanted to perform certain test, and were ordered by the FDA not to do so. (Some of them ignored these orders.) That is something I would expect the “experts” to know more about than Trump.

    Same thing with the timeline. Yes, Trump blew it, and we are paying for it. But Dr. Fauci, the much touted expert, was also downplaying the virus in January. You cannot expect any layman-president to sound the alarm under those circumstances, certainly not the buffoon we have in the White House.

    So there have been serious failures at all levels. That’s my conclusion. Whether someone else would have done better is sheer speculation.

    Bored Lawyer (56c962)

  13. From the head down, the fish rots.

    nk (1d9030)

  14. @13 — It’s not a fish, it’s a vast federal bureaucracy, some of whose members have been around for decades. Fauci got his start in the Reagan Administration.

    Bored Lawyer (56c962)

  15. CNN… ’nuff said…

    https://lidblog.com/people-of-color-face-masks/

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  16. He’s been in charge of those Orgs for 3 years. Their failures also reflect on him.

    It looks like somebody didn’t get the memo:

    “I don’t take responsibility at all.” – Donald J. Trump

    On singular occasions like this, when he accidentally tells the truth, it’s glorious.

    Check out his latest guffaw-inducing, bald-faced lie: he “inherited” the flawed tests for a virus that was totally unknown six months ago.

    “We inherited a broken test — the whole thing was broken,” Trump said on the Fox News morning show “Fox and Friends” on March 30.

    “And remember this: We inherited — the word is we inherited bad tests. We really inherited bad tests. These are horrible tests. And it was broken. It was all broken. And we fixed it,” Trump said at the White House briefing on April 1.

    “The original test — the ones we inherited, Jim, as an example, they were — they were broken. They were obsolete. They were not good tests. And that’s what we got stuck with,” he said at the April 3 briefing.

    “Initially speaking, the tests were old, obsolete, and not really prepared,” he said at the April 6 briefing.

    Straight. Up. Lies.

    Dave (1bb933)

  17. The International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents, which published the infamous French hydroxychloroquine study that won Herr Doktor Professor Drumpfenschnitzel the Nobel Prize in Medicine, has now repudiated the article, saying it does not meet their standards.

    Dave (1bb933)

  18. Trump said today that if you take HCQ it will keep you from getting the virus. HCQ is an immunosuppressant. Do you know what the last thing you want to take to minimize your likelihood to get an infection? Hmmm…

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (305827)

  19. I guess you could say the Secretary was naive and stupid to say all that stuff in front of a loyal crew of people who would die for their country, and expect them not to fight for someone who sacrificed himself for them?

    Ah the Trump administration and bad leadership. Like peas and carrots. Like kung and flu. Like Trump’s hands and his daughter’s love handles.

    Dustin (fa728c)

  20. Re: earliest tests were indeed faulty. It’s a long article. If you don’t have the time to read the whole thing, then do a search for the word “reagent”:
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/2020/04/03/coronavirus-cdc-test-kits-public-health-labs/?arc404=true

    There are quite a few results on a search for “virus test reagent bad” — I picked the WaPo one because people here seem to believe its content….

    ColoComment (2429fb)

  21. The International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents, which published the infamous French hydroxychloroquine study that won Herr Doktor Professor Drumpfenschnitzel the Nobel Prize in Medicine, has now repudiated the article, saying it does not meet their standards.

    Quelle surprise!

    nk (1d9030)

  22. I guess you could say the Secretary was naive and stupid to say all that stuff in front of a loyal crew of people who would die for their country, and expect them not to fight for someone who sacrificed himself for them?

    Dogs reflect the personalities of their masters.

    nk (1d9030)

  23. At Col. Klink – yes it is an immunosuppressant and that is why it appears to help some cases. One of the issues with this Coronavirus is the bodies reaction to it, or rather, the overreaction. But, it is another reason that HCQ should be prescribed by your Doctor, not just taken in general as a prophylaxis.

    Trump is not a doctor, do not take medical advice from him.

    Colliente (05736f)

  24. As a navy veteran; yes the CO should have been relieved, and yes the Secretary should have been removed. They can both be wrong.

    Colliente (05736f)

  25. Good.

    aphrael (7962af)

  26. Who from the State Department sent the USS Theodore Roosevelt to Vietnam on a good will mission during a virus outbreak? That does not seem to be all that brilliant.

    Harmon Ward (5921b0)

  27. As a navy veteran; yes the CO should have been relieved, and yes the Secretary should have been removed. They can both be wrong.

    Colliente (05736f) — 4/7/2020 @ 4:49 pm

    I agree 100%. We don’t even know how many other ships need the same accommodations this one did.

    Dustin (fa728c)

  28. One of two things is possible. Either Trump told Modly to fire Captain Crozier (not entirely unlikely); or Modly tried to anticipate Trump’s whim and fired the Captain because he thought it would please his master. And frankly, the second is both worse and more likely than the first.

    And it’s compounded by Modly’s compulsion to further flatter his master by trying to imitate him with an in-person, unthinking, unhinged rant. Then he gives a passive/aggressive half-apology (essentially, Crozier is neither naive nor stupid…he’s a criminal!).

    And finally, after he’s been ordered to ‘resign,’ He writes a four-page all-hands letter with about three sentences of actual apology and responsibility-accepting, and three and a half pages of ain’t I special and it’s too bad all you weaklings weren’t smart enough to recognize that (really, you can read it in Task & Purpose)

    He’s either Naive or Stupid. And he’ll be played by John Malkovich in the movie.

    So, wonder how Acting Acting Secretary of the Navy McPherson will do? (he’s been Undersecretary of the Army for a whole two weeks; before that, Dept of the Army’s Chief Counsel; and before that, retired as head of the Navy’s JAG corps).

    Purple Martin (34703c)

  29. And good riddance. A Navy Secretary who cannot avoid opening his yap when yapping isn’t called for OUGHT to resign.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  30. When I was a lad I served a term
    As office boy to an attorney’s firm
    I cleaned the windows and I swept the floor
    And I polished up the handle of the big front door

    He polished up the handle of the big front door

    I polished up that handle so carefully
    That now I am the Ruler of the Queen’s Navy

    He polished up that handle so carefully
    That now he is the Ruler of the Queen’s Navy

    nk (1d9030)

  31. I guess you could say the Secretary was naive and stupid to say all that stuff in front of a loyal crew of people who would die for their country, and expect them not to fight for someone who sacrificed himself for them?

    Yes, and what makes you think they were taking the CO’s side? He deserved to be fired. Now, others may also deserve to be fired, but that’s a different subject.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  32. One of two things is possible.

    Or, I dunno, maybe the CO deserved to be fired. That too is possible, and might well have come from the CNO, CINCPAC or others in his chain of command. The Secretary’s travel to Guam to cut his own throat could have been simple stupidity.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  33. Yes, and what makes you think they were taking the CO’s side?

    We only have news reports that the sailors cheered, and some video that shows that SOME cheered. Until someone proves otherwise, I’m going to assume this is the same kind of reporting that has Trump booed by everyone everywhere.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  34. “Yes, and what makes you think they were taking the CO’s side?”

    Do you see the videos of the crew cheering him when he left?

    Davethulhu (3857ea)

  35. @6. By the time the trucks carrying the ammunition arrived

    Trucks? Bell ring a bell? It was a helicopter war.

    “I know a lot about helicopters.” – President Donald J. Trump, 4-6-2020

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  36. I’ll cheer myself hoarse when Trump leaves the White House. Will that prove that I’m on his side?

    Just kidding. I think you all are right. Crozier spoiled his crew rotten, and they loved him for it. It’s also why the ship is now infected with coronavirus.

    nk (1d9030)

  37. I’m retired military (SMSgt (Ret), USAF, and my youngest son is active-duty Navy. His most recent sea duty was on a carrier in the Pacific. I’m invested.

    That said, depending on validated facts, I might agree with Captain Crozier’s removal—but only by his Navy superiors, and only after the investigation the Navy had already started confirmed relevant facts (not just assertions). Rationale for removal would be the wrong but right decision to arrange the original leak and thus immediately force the process of getting his crew off the ship and into quarantine.

    Right, because if you’ve learned how the exponential spread of the coronavirus works in a community of forced closeness, you understand how a delay of even one day early in the cycle, makes a tremendous difference in the end infection and case-fatality rates. The Captain may have knowingly killed his career to save sailors’ lives

    Wrong, in that a purposeful decision to take an action with the intended end-result of publicly releasing sensitive information held in trust—even if its purpose is to force correct action—cannot go without any penalty at all. But, if an objective investigation determines that’s what happened, it might be forgiven (which is what a lesser punishment than knee-jerk immediate removal, would be).

    I apologize if somebody’s already already brought this up, but in 1898 as the Spanish-American War came to an end, Colonel Teddy Roosevelt wrote a letter to Secretary of War Russell Alger expressing concern that the Rough Riders he commanded would die from yellow fever and malaria if they were not evacuated from Cuba. In order to force action, the letter was released to the AP, very likely by Col Roosevelt. This angered Secretary Alger and others in Washington DC, but did create a public outcry prompting the retrieval of the soldiers—likely saving many of their lives. It’s ironic that more than a century later, the Captain of The Big Stick finds himself in the same position as Col Roosevelt.

    Post-script: It’s likely that Alger personally blocked Roosevelt’s nomination for the Medal of Honor. But now, who’s heard of Russell Alger? In a hundred years, I hope more people remember Captain Brett Crozier than Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly.

    Purple Martin (34703c)

  38. @12. So there have been serious failures at all levels.

    Like spending $14 billion on ships that can be sunk w/$3 million Exocet-styled missiles, disabled by a computer virus on a $5 thumb drive– or disrupted by a free cough w/a human virus for starts.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  39. @30. NK forgot the last and most important line. If I remember correctly, it’s…

    Stick close to your desk and never go to sea
    And soon you’ll be the ruler of the Queen’s Navy!

    Purple Martin (34703c)

  40. Yes. Thank you, Purple Martin.

    nk (1d9030)

  41. Do you see the videos of the crew cheering him when he left?

    I see videos of about 100 people, some of whom are cheering him as he left. The crew is larger than that.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  42. Sailors hate two things: the way things are, and change.

    Modly played into both! That’s a talent for screwing up! The shipmates were obviously frustrated with being sick. They obviously won’t appreciate some civilian pencil-neck calling a sailor naive and stupid. Internally I am sure there were many grumbles with command staff. But that’s internally. Someone coming from outside to stomp on their leadership? It’s hard to believe that didn’t drive them together. These folks have considered themselves together/alone for a while. Nature of their lifestyle.

    Dustin (fa728c)

  43. I see videos of about 100 people, some of whom are cheering him as he left. The crew is larger than that.

    Bollocks. But with you it is ever thus…

    Ragspierre (d9bec9)

  44. The crew of an aircraft carrier is between 4000 – 5000 people. I believe it was reported earlier that the Teddy Roosevelt crew was 4000.

    Colliente (05736f)

  45. LOL, at Dustin #42. That’s sooo true.

    Colliente (05736f)

  46. I believe it was reported earlier that the Teddy Roosevelt crew was 4000.

    Only a fraction of which COULD have been present.

    I see 2813. Prove me wrong. See the point?

    Ragspierre (d9bec9)

  47. FWIW Stars and Stripes cited “hundreds” of soldiers cheering. Not sure if the “Navy” reddit thread with 84 K members is indicative of larger sentiment, but its hard to see anything but support for Crozier there. The general feeling is he sacrificed his career for his men.

    JRH (52aed3)

  48. at Rags #46 – “prove me wrong” ?? why should I ?? What is your point?

    Colliente (05736f)

  49. 48. I wasn’t addressing you per se. The comment was general, and more particular to Kevin’s remarks.

    Ragspierre (d9bec9)

  50. Trump on Modly yesterday: “I don’t know him.”

    JRH (52aed3)

  51. I’d love to know Steve57’s take on this.

    mg (8cbc69)

  52. Sorry he resigned. He probably thought it was 50-50 that Trump would win in November, and there was no reason to weather a lot of attacks for an extra 8 months in office. Again, i’m curious why the Chief of Naval Operations has been AWOL during this whole situation.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  53. Per Trump, Crozier’s punishment will be handled through “regular Navy Channels” which is a good thing. The Captain should be punished servery. He not only sent out an email to people who were NOT in his chain of command, he didn’t talk to the Admiral task force commander his immediate superior – several doors from him on the TR – before he sent out the email.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  54. I’m assuming the difference between the various numbers of crew members depends on whether you’re counting the Naval Aviation units assigned to the carrier or not.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  55. He not only sent out an email to people who were NOT in his chain of command, he didn’t talk to the Admiral task force commander his immediate superior – several doors from him on the TR – before he sent out the email.

    Support?

    Ragspierre (d9bec9)

  56. A flag captain who doesn’t speak to the flag about something he’s passionate about? I have to believe he did and got the “wrong” answer. Not that this excuses insubordination in the military.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  57. I see 2813. Prove me wrong. See the point?

    God only knows what you see.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  58. @ #24:

    …yes the CO should have been relieved, and yes the Secretary should have been removed. They can both be wrong.

    As someone who is not a Navy veteran, I agree with this.

    I will add, however, that I regard Captain Crozier more favorably than Secretary Modly. Enough has come out now to make me fairly certain that: Crozier didn’t leak the letter; Crozier wrote the letter intending it to be leaked; and Crozier knew what the consequences of that choice would be for his career. I haven’t seen him complain about the decision. He seems to have knowingly fallen on his sword for what he regarded as the best interests of the sailors under his command. Compare that with Secretary Modly, whose speech (and consequences stemming therefrom) is perhaps the greatest example of irony yet to issue forth from an administration that hasn’t previously lacked for examples.

    Demosthenes (f6ab17)

  59. I will say this about the secretary. I don’t think he’s naïve.

    Demosthenes (f6ab17)

  60. God only knows what you see.

    Trolling much? You REALLY can’t abide someone opposing your BS, huh?

    Such a bully!

    Ragspierre (d9bec9)

  61. Former acting Navy secretary’s trip to Guam, which led to his resignation, cost almost a quarter of a million dollars

    What a waste.

    For that amount of money, our Dear Leader could have played the front nine at Mar-a-Lago.

    Dave (1bb933)


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