Sacked USS Theodore Roosevelt Captain Brett Crozier is currently quarantined in Guam after testing positive to COVID-19.
But his friends and former colleagues are busy praising him after he was booted from the aircraft carrier for writing a letter to Navy bosses sounding the alarm about a widespread outbreak of coronavirus on board the ship.
Long-time friend, former Navy captain Jeff Craig, told The New York Times this week that he hopes Crozier will be reinstated on the Roosevelt.
‘He is one of the best people I have ever known, both professionally and personally,’ Craig stated.
The pair first met as midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy in the late 1988, where Crozier – a native of Northern California- instantly became popular among in his peers.
Friends and former colleagues of sacked USS Theodore Roosevelt Captain Brett Crozier (pictured) have been praising him in interviews and op-eds following his ousting from the ship on April 2
Crozier (third from right) is pictured with classmates at the U.S. Naval Academy, from which he graduated in 1992
In the aftermath of his removal from the Roosevelt, several other former classmates have joined Craig in offering their public support.
Classmate Mark Roppolo penned an op-ed in The Dallas Morning News Friday describing Crozier as ‘one of the finest leaders I know’.
Fellow Naval Academy alum, Dan Goldenberg, told The Times that Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modley was ‘wrong, no matter what’ for dismissing Crozier from his carrier.
Meanwhile, dozens of other old classmates have voiced their support in a private Facebook group that ‘is overflowing with posts and comments in support of the captain’.
After graduating from the Naval Academy in 1992, Crozier went on to flight school in Pensacola, Florida and kick-started his career flying helicopters.
He piloted a SH-60B Seahawk helicopter, earning the nickname ‘Chopper’.
Crozier was stationed in Hawaii and Tennessee, before he decided to make the unusual transition to flying fighter jets in the year 2000.
The talented pilot went on to command an F/A-18 Hornet fighter squadron after being inspired by the 1986 movie Top Gun.
Crozier went on to command an F/A-18 Hornet fighter squadron after being inspired by the 1986 movie Top Gun
Crozier is seen taking to the skies in a short video shared by the US Navy
Crozier earned the nickname ‘Chopper’ after training as a helicopter pilot – but the moniker still stuck when he transitioned to flying fighter jets
In 2003, he was part of a squadron deployed on the USS Nimitz to the Middle East in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Then, in 2014, Crozier entered the Navy’s nuclear power school to learn how to run nuclear plants that are on board U.S. aircraft carriers.
Craig told The Times: ‘Nuclear power school is a crucible. It’s not for the faint of heart. Chopper would stay late, study on weekends, until he could not only pass the tests but had a deep understanding of the concepts behind them.’
Former classmate Roppolo always remembers Crozier as a man of supreme intellect.
‘Crozier has excelled throughout his career because of his character and intelligence. One does not rise to become CO of an aircraft carrier without excellent and time-tested leadership and problem-solving skills,’ he stated.
Crozier only took the helm of USS Roosevelt (pictured) on November 1 last year, but managed to make an indelible impression on the crew
On Thanksgiving last year, Crozier was pictured washing dishes in the Roosevelt’s scullery so junior crew members could get time for holiday meal
Crozier took the helm of USS Roosevelt on November 1 last year, but managed to make an indelible impression on the crew.
On Thanksgiving last year, Crozier was pictured washing dishes in the Roosevelt’s scullery so junior crew members could get time for holiday meal.
‘Chopper always had the best interests only of his crew forefront. I’m sure that was the case here,’ Craig stated.
Indeed, when Crozier was ousted from his aircraft carrier, his crew was left outraged.
Crozier met and married wife Mary in the 1990s, before they went on to have three sons
Videos posted to social media by sailors show a large crowd of servicemen and women on board the warship bidding him a rousing sendoff as was escorted off the carrier earlier this month.
‘That’s how you send out one of the greatest captains you ever had,’ a man is heard saying.
Another sailor, Taliah Peterkin, posted a video showing Crozier, wearing a baseball cap and carrying a backpack over his left shoulder, disembark from the USS Theodore Roosevelt, which is docked in Guam.
He is seen giving a salute and then turning to acknowledge the sailors who are chanting his name: ‘Captain Crozier! Captain Crozier!’
‘So long to our hero Captain Crozier,’ the caption on Peterkin’s post read.
Crozier is seen addressing his crew on board the USS Roosevelt last year
Captain, my Captain! Crozier is pictured before his ousting as commander of the Roosevelt
Crozier’s future remains unclear – but he has a family waiting for him to return home to the United States after he ends his quarantine in Guam.
Despite a busy and illustrious career, Crozier also found time to focus on his personal life.
He met and married wife Mary in the 1990s, before they went on to have three sons.
Mary hails from a Navy family, and one of their three sons is following in the family tradition, and has reportedly enrolled at the U.S. Naval Academy.
Crozier’s future remains unclear – but it seems unlikely he will be reinstated as caption of the Roosevelt. He is pictured on board the carrier last December