Top Navy Leaders Brief Reporters at Pentagon

Navy Secretary Kenneth Braithwaite and Navy Adm. Michael Gilday, chief of naval operations, brief reporters at the Pentagon, June 19, 2020.

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great weight, you know. Thank you, Commander. Very much. Good afternoon. From the moment that I began serving as the secretary of the Navy three weeks ago, I have been committed to ensuring that the investigation into the USS Theodore Roosevelt’s Cove in response was an unflinching examination of what happened and how it happened. Has a career naval officer. I recognize the Navy must follow the fax in order to learn from this unprecedented challenge. That investigation is concluded, and today we are releasing the investigation report publicly. I am satisfied that it was conducted in an extremely thorough and fair manner. Moreover, I fully support its findings recommendations. And I’d like to take this time to commend the investigation team led by Admiral Burke under the direction of our CNO Admiral Gil Day on the work that they did under very demanding conditions. But before I turn over the podium to our chief of naval operations, Advil Gil Day, to discuss the findings of the investigation in detail, there are a few people that I would like to recognize. First, I’d like to thank Governor Liu Guero of Guam for her tremendous support that she and the people of Guam provided the crew of Theodore Roosevelt and the Navy. Her leadership throughout this entire episode really stands out and is an inspiring example of patriotism, partnership and service. As such, the department has awarded her the Distinguished Public Service Medal. I’d also like to commend rare Admiral John Minani, the commander of Joint Region Marianas, as well as Captain Jeffrey Grimes, the commanding officer of Naval Base Guam. Their outstanding efforts greatly contributed to the health, safety and recovery of the crew of USS Theodore Roosevelt. I am authorizing each of them to be awarded the Legion of Merit for their meritorious actions. Finally, today I’d like to remember Chief Charles Robert Thacker alone tr sailor who died of the disease in April. I just yesterday sent his widow AO one Samantha Thacker a note toe offer my personal condolences. Our entire Navy mourns with her and her family, and with Chief Thacker’s shipmates, I now like to turn it over to our chief of naval operations, Admiral Michael Gill. Day, Admiral. Thank you, Mr Secretary. Ladies and gentlemen, get afternoon. Over the course of the past two months, the Navy has conducted a command investigation into the events surrounding the Cove in 19 outbreak on the USS Theodore Roosevelt. That investigation was led by vice by the vice chief of naval operations, Admiral Bob Burke. Today, after carefully reviewing the command investigation, we’re here to brief you on its findings. In my review, I consider the following key tenets and grounded my conclusions in them. Number one, the responsibility of commanded see number two, the primacy of the chain of command and, lastly, the standards of performance in command, our nation’s laws and U. S. Navy regulations from form the basis for commanded see, without which our Navy could not perform its most critical functions. These both clearly state that every commanding officer has the responsibility and the authority to make decisions and then to communicate up the chain of command. The responsibility of command is absolute, and we take our CEO’s performance very seriously. We place a great amount of trust and confidence or commanding officers and rely on them to manage risk and to make decisions and to communicate openly and honestly with their chain of command, especially in crisis. Forthright, fearless and clear communications up and down the chain of command is essential to effective military operations, particularly when faced with the dynamic and novel threat such as Cove in 19. I am keenly aware that the actions of those involved must be judged understanding the unprecedented nature of this challenge, the difficulties involved with evolving guidance and the fast pace of the crisis. However, after a thorough review, I have determined to take the following actions First, the promotion for the strike group Commander Rear Admiral Baker to two stars will be delayed pending further review. Second, I will not reassign Captain Bread Crozier as the commanding officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, nor will he be eligible for future command. Captain Crozier will be reassigned. While I previously believe the Captain Crozier should be reinstated following his relief in April after conducting an initial investigation, The much broader deeper investigation that we conducted in the weeks following that had a much deeper scope. And it is my belief that both Admiral Baker and Captain Crozier fell well short of what we expect of those in command. Had I known then what I know today, I would have not made that recommendation to reinstate Captain Crozier. Moreover, if Captain Crozier were still in command today, I would be relieving him. Captain Kroger’s primary responsibility was the safety and the well being of the crew said that the ship could remain as operationally ready as possible in reviewing both Admiral Baker and Captain Kroger’s actions, they did not do enough soon enough t fulfill their primary obligation, and they did not effectively carry out our guidelines to prevent spread of the virus. They were slow egress ing sailors off the ship, and they failed to move sailors to available safer environments quickly. Additionally, Captain Crozier exercise questionable judgment when he released sailors from Quarante from quarantine on the ship, which put his crew at higher risk and may have increased the spread of the virus of or the Theodore Roosevelt. When obstacles arose. Both failed to tackle the problem head on and to take charge, and in a number of instances, they placed crew comfort in front of crew safety. Ultimately, they were driven by the problem instead of driving decisions has captured, Crozier stated in his email. He should have been more decisive when the ship pulled into Guam. He also said that he was ultimately responsible for his ship and his crew and I agree. In the end, the email and the letters sent by Captain Crozier were unnecessary. Actions were already underway to acquire CDC compliant off base hotel rooms for the crew before he sent that email. While it is rare for the CEO of any ship to directly communicate three levels above them in the chain of command, if they do, they must ensure that all of the means of communication within the chain of command have been thoroughly exhausted. And I have a full understanding of all the facts and that they include all members of the chain of command in that communication. Before I take your questions, I like to speak directly to a few groups as the secretary mentioned much help when it’s a supporting TR and I can’t thank enough. I can’t thank everyone enough for their efforts. The governor of Guam certainly helped obtain safe lodging for the crew Naval base Guam help accommodate more than 2000 sailors ashore in less than a week. Expeditionary medal medical teams from Okinawa help care for and treat the crew and the Republic of Korea dedicated support to help us test samples from the crew at scale to our commanding officers. Let me be very clear. We expect you to fire a red Flaherty, a chain of command when necessary. We also expect you to be men and women of decisive action. You must adapt in the face of adversity. You must exercise ingenuity and crisis and communicate effectively up and down the chain of command. After all, it’s your ship and it’s your crew to the crew of the USS Theodore Roosevelt. You’re underway today in the Philippines. See executing the mission of which you are assigned and we support you. While you rightly supported Captain Crozier is your commanding officer. It is because of what he didn’t do, that I have chosen him. Not that I’ve chosen not to reinstate him is your CEO. And to the secretary’s point, I also offer my deepest sympathies. Chief Akers, family, friends and shipmates. We mourn his loss and stand alongside you as you continue to grieve. And with that, we’re ready to take your questions. Questions for Animal Gil Day. In your description off what you found the flaws you found in captain closures, actions and inactions. As you put it, I wonder why it is that you were unable to see those problems when you review that the first time and where you were you actually wrong and what you saw or what happened. So let me let me talk about that initial investigation. Let me be clear up front the determination that I just mentioned about his not being restated command and the action that holding the strike group commanders promotion and advance. That’s not about the email that he sent. And it’s certainly not about the fact that it leaked the initial investigation. Took a narrow look at why he sent that email and we took. We took the fax, and I followed the facts from that narrowly scoped investigation, and I was tasked to take a look at those facts against then acting Secretary Modi’s justification for relieving him. And I did not feel that the Fort fax supported the justification. Justification included the fact that included, uh, state assertions that Captain Crozier went outside the chain of command. In the email. He said that he went to the median, the median email. At one point he said that the media was included in the chain of command. He ah, he a pine that the email was handled recklessly, and that’s why it leak. Captain Crozier hit Send once in that email, Captain Crozier did not leak that email or intend for it to be be leaked. So at that time, I felt that the fax did not justify relieved based in the narrow scope again, Had I known then what I know today, I’d be really I would have relieved him back then. That time, the acting secretary of the A. B. MacPherson felt that the investigation should be broader, increased in scope, go all the way back to the decision to pull a ship in the Vietnam, the time in Port Vietnam, the transit back to Guam and the time in Port Guam. And so that gave us a much a much clearer view of Captain Croce’s performance in command. As I mentioned earlier, I mentioned three kind of primary lenses through which I view the investigation in the last one and really the most critical right now with respect to this broader investigation, with standards of performance and command and decision making in crisis example, so are we now understand that basically, that cove it would not have spread on board the TR as quickly as it did. If Captain Crozier had taken certain measures, Are you blaming him for the spread of covert? Because he was slow to react. And do you believe that this letter was some sort of, uh, covering himself from those actions? So let me let me take the second question for so in terms of the email in the letter that you sent when he said had sending that letter when he hit, send on that email six hours before the governor of Guam had already agreed to allow us to use hotel rooms. The only requirement that she had at that point and it is that this issue had been worked. This was on a Monday. So on the proceedings Sunday and Saturday, there were conversations between the regional commander in the governor And then on Sunday the hotel association was brought into the discussion. By Monday, she agreed to open up the hotels. The hotel association was supportive. The only thing that she require was a call from a four star. So within that day, there was a call from Admiral actually know that then opened up the hotels. The following day. So my points about checking the facts before you before you fire flare of the chain of command. Captain Crozier was aware that those negotiations were ongoing. It was only the day before on Sunday that he levied the requirement for not just 4000 beds, but for 4000 hotel rooms. And so when he hit went when the, uh, commander of U S. Pacific Fleet received that email, he reached out immediately talked to Admiral Baker and Captain Crozier and his question waas, what else do you need me to do that we’re not doing now? And the response was to move faster on the hotels. Actually, no said, Look, we’re making up to 2000 beds available off the ship so that you can release those. You can release people off the ship, get him in a safer place, we can begin to get them healthy. We can begin to clean the ship more thoroughly, and then we can restore the normal operations as quickly as possible. And so that the reason why Crozier sent the email was because he felt when he when he sent it, that we weren’t moving fast enough on the hotels But based on what I just said, those wheels were well in motion. The outside support from other echelons of the chain of command besides working the hotel issue included commanders reaching out to the Republic of Korea so that we could then, uh, uh, process testing samples at scale up to 1000 a day military airlift being stationed in Guam with the sole purpose of that aircraft in the air crew to run those samples back and forth to the Peninsula of Korea so that we could turn 3 to 500 samples a day. Bringing in bringing a medical team of 50 plus people from Okinawa to support to augment the small medical team on on T are examples of other activity that were going on. I really felt that, uh, there were There were a few key issues here with respect to what I believe to be an almost paralysis of that command team From the time they pulled in port until the time that we were able to get the hotels during the transit itself, I didn’t feel like they followed all the guidelines of store Ilias. They should. There was some things that they absolutely did right. We found that our determination is that the cod flakes, for example, that came out of the Philippines of five flights, that they weren’t the vector of infection on the ship. We ruled that out based on testing that we did and symptoms tracing that we were doing on those air crews. After they arrived on t. R. I thought that they could have done a much better job of physical distancing. I think you saw indications of that. When Crozier left the ship and the crew packed together, there was not. That was not a primary, um, measure that was credit that we viewed is critically important. And again, he did a bunch of things right. I think he could have did better than I am not grounding the relief based on the fact that I think social distancing could have been better. I do think that the naval bit that naval base, Guam moved mountains to make beds available, and so those beds, in terms of the specifications that were placed six feet apart, 72 square feet, were allotted for each sailor. And so although it wasn’t individual rooms, it was the best that we had now. They were also hotel rooms in the base that were made available. It was vacant housing that was made available. There were barracks that were made available. There were ships that had excess birthing. That we were going to make available is well. And so the naval base was working at speed to make beds available every day. On the day that Crozier had sent in the email that 24 hours in that period there were 700 beds unfilled. There were 500 a day before There were 300 a day before that. So if I go back to the primary, responsibility of CEO is itself was the safety and well being of the crew so that we could move them to a better place and get the ship back to its full operational capability as soon as possible. I was not impressed by the slow egress off the ship. The lack of a plan to do so. The seventh Fleet commanders demand for a plan that he didn’t receive until the day Crozier got relieved. That was 67 days into the port visit, so I found both from both. From a standpoint of planning and execution that they fell well short. They also made the decision on Sunday toe lift quarantine in the app portion of the ship. So there 1000 people in the aft portion of the ship they lifted quarantine. And so they co mingle those members in the ship again. It would have made sense to me that if you’re going to do that, if you need to relieve some of that pressure that they were to fill those seven some of those 700 beds ashore. That decision, in my view, was one of comfort over safety. And again, safety was thing one. And I think there were other decisions that were made, some of them self limiting in terms of getting people ashore that had everything to do with comfort over safety. You’re letting out a number of things that you saw at the time that concerned you, uh, paralysis of command, just things lining up one after another that you observed as this process is going on. So what I don’t understand is why did the Navy then simply inquire into the email? Why did if you knew it at Milberg knew it. So my question is how it How is it not a conclusion that the Navy was basically investigating the wrong not the full problem. And Mr Secretary after Admiral Gildeyev, if I could just ask you a swell it’s. And I realized you came after this, sir. But it seems the Navy knew all along that there were a series of problems. Did nobody tell you? But you seem tohave some awareness of it. And what did the navy here from Captain Croshere? Did they Did they interview him? What did explanation did he have? So my awareness aval Berks awareness aval actually knows awareness of those problems with decision making and rapid egress. Those were never visible to us until we did the deeper investigation. So at my So if I go back to, uh, this at echelon one in the Navy, my questions are to the to the Pacific Fleet Commander, what do you need as an example, he needs authority to be able to use mill air to take those samples to Korea. We took care of that. We needed toe order people from Okinawa to Guam. We took care of that. Things that things that Averil actually and I was doing at his level and the seventh Fleet commander was doing at his level. We’re all in support of closure. I go back to Crozes email weren’t where he says command is absolute. It’s my ship and it’s my crew. And I believe it should have also been his plan in his plan execute and all other echelons air in support of that command based on all the examples I gave you, the testing in Korea, the spaces that were becoming available enable based Guam. The negotiations in the hotel, the medical teams from Okinawa So quickly No, have no one more than he did. How I guess I don’t understand. How is it up and down? Nobody knew. And what did Captain Crowe shirt Was he interviewed? What did he have to say? How does nobody know? Captain Cruiser has never said in his email. You never saw the line. I am heinie. He certainly said I need these things. What he never said was, I am doing these things. This was all about what Crozier failed to do. Within his span of control, I looked at the span of control of the Commander of Pacific Leak. I looked at the span of control of the commanders. Seventh Fleet. I did not see those problems. We would necessarily see those those issues bubble up unless Crozier raised them. If he had a problem, let’s say he thought that the accommodations in the gym with it, with the with the with the bed, six feet apart. He didn’t like that. That’s one of the reasons he didn’t send people assured speed because he wanted the hotel rooms. We didn’t have the hotel rooms. The best we had were the facilities that I mentioned a few minutes ago. Used them as best you can back to thing one safety of the crew. Baker and Crow jher. We’re talking to the Seventh Fleet Commander every day. If they had issues, they should have raised them. If he fearlessly communicated with that and with that email that he sent that I’ve never disagreed with his fearlessly sending the email then he certainly should have just just the same free Leslie communicated issues every day during those video teleconferences. All right, thank God. Impressions from the phone. We’ve got a busy Ryan from post. Hey, Sorry. It falls from the person stepping intimacy nearly how I know. I just wanted to ask whether I think the impression will probably be from a lot of people on the tr that essentially, this is blaming the captain and the admiral for the failings of wider Navy leadership that that should have been more attuned in prepared for what was going on. And I was wondering if you could speak it out your will. So, um, when the seventh, after Captain Crozes relieved, the seventh Fleet commander flew from his command ship, the blue Ridge, um, onto Guam and he spent an hour and 1/2 answering questions for the crew until they ran out of questions to ask. He was clear to them that the reason that he was putting pressure on crow jher to put people in those gyms and in those rooms assure was because he was putting safety over comfort. That’s the first time anybody and explain that to that crew. And he told me when I spoke to the Seventh Fleet Commander and that was an eye opener for him, and it was an eye open for the crew. One of the last calls I made this afternoon was to the current strike group commander in the currency over the theory a Roosevelt to prepare them for when they wake up tomorrow morning. And this news hits the streets whether they first learned about it, they both feel that the crew is gonna accept this except the rationale that we lay out that they have a better understanding now than they did back then of why things happened the way they happen. All right, Nancy, use up from the journal. Thank you. Um, you know now, patient zero waas on the funeral. Roosevelt very indication that it came onto the ship more than one way. And who did you communicate with outside of the military, that is, or any of these decisions or recommendations communicated with the White House beforehand. Thank you. So let me take your first question. If it’s OK, sir, I’ll turn the question The second question over to you. Um, so your first question again, I’m sorry. Miss Yussef was, uh um it was about it was about Thea, uh, vector for infection on the ship. And so, no, we’ve not been able Teoh specifically understand who patient zero was on t r and I think part of that is because of the aseptic nature of eight symptomatic nature of cove it and so it incubates at different paces for different people. And so we don’t have a good enough understanding based in the investigation. We think that likely, Uh, it happened during the port visit to Vietnam, but And when you read the report, we spent an extensive. We took an extensive look at the decision making before we would interview before the ship pulled into Vietnam. The actions that the ship took in terms of precautions, as they were in Vietnam and then what they did transiting out of Vietnam. And I’m certainly happy to cover some of that for you. But, man, we don’t have a clear understanding of patient zero. So the second part of the question I first like to go back to what Barbara had had stated. I think that this is truly illustrates the importance of a thorough investigation. I think is Admiral Guild A has indicated, um, if we had done the due diligence from the beginning, we would have come up with the total fax that would have led us to make the right conclusion much earlier than today. Unfortunately, emotion got in the way, and a rush to judgment perhaps became part of the equation. I think the entire country has learned a lot through this cove. It experience, and it’s always easy to play Monday morning quarterback and go back and guess the actions of those who acted the way they did. I am very proud of the way that the United States Navy has reacted to this. When you think about the totality of this virus and how it’s affected America, you will see that we really only had two ships that were significantly affected. Um, and out of that, both those ships are back underway and fully mission capable. As far as my responsibility again, I am a former military officer who believes in the chain of command. I have discussed the findings of this report with my boss, the secretary of Defense, Dr Mark Esper, who also upholds our conclusions farther than that. Uh, that is up to Dr Esper to determine, and I would refer any follow on questions you would have to him. All right, we’ll come back from here, David, with this deep ever that had not approach written that letter. Um, I can’t said it definitively, but certainly the email in the leak was the genesis of all this. Hey, he’s not being relieve for the letter, but it’s because of the letter that you have the investigation. Correct. So as I as I said earlier, this isn’t about the email, and it’s not about the leak. And I go back to my comments about fearless communications up the chain of command I need. We need commanders t communicate up the chain of command. But yes, that’s what that’s what led. That’s what led to Crozes firing. And if you remember back at that time, I had recommended an investigation before we made a determination on whether fire and uh and so the investigation, Uh, the investigation happened out after his relief. Does it bother you that if he hadn’t written that letter and you’re just going through the normal course of business, you never would have surfaced these problems, it’s good to get after these issues. We learned a lot from TR the issue here. Really, David is about standards of performance and particularly in crisis. And so when you read the report, I think you probably come to the same conclusion that I did. As bad as I feel for Captain Crozier and Admiral Baker in their families, I’ve got a responsibility to put the best people possible in a ship that is now operating the Philippine Sea with two other strike groups. You’ve seen the Chinese reactions to our ships out there. I can’t have anybody. I need people gripping problems. I need them driving solutions. I need them communicating fearlessly. This put enough doubt in my mind. As I said before, had I know then what I know now, I would have relieved him. Write Kourtney a couple of things. Emerald. Gilda. I’m still having hard time understanding how your assessment of the paralysis of the command team and then the urgency of the email that he sent. How do you square those? And then you just explain a little bit more about Rianna Baker. You said that it would be his promotion she start would be delayed pending further review. Is that a great determination? Border? Who does that review? Take that one. I’ll take that one first, if you would. And so we made. I made the decision through a normal course of events to have a normal turnover the strike group strike group commander before they get underway. The reason I did that is because I knew that pending the results of the investigation, I could still hold Baker accountable. I didn’t want to do a turnover in the South China Sea when they were operating two of the strike zone, one of that operational continuity. So I discussed it with operational commanders and that’s the decision that we made. And so with respect to his promotion being held in advance so as part of the recommendations and report their administrative actions that that will be taken against against Amel Baker so that would be in the form of a letter. And that determination will be made by and Malacca Lino, the Pacific Fleet commander. That’ll lead, then lead through an administrative process that will finally come to the secretary of the Navy to make a decision on whether or not he should be promoted. He’s already Senate confirmed. I’m sorry, your proceeding questions. If you can explain that the difference between the analysis that he was that there was a paralysis of the command and then this urgency in the email that Captain Crozier sent e. I just don’t understand. I think that was the thing that got so much attention about as it seemed like such a desperate plea for help. Correct. So how do you explain that? It seems as if you’re saying that he wasn’t actually helping his sailors, That’s why. So my point is that I feel he was placing them a greater risk again. I go back to comfort in front of safety as I look at the facts. That’s what stood out to me and again I talked about, you know, his primary responsibility was safety and well being of the crew so that we could get back to maximum operational readiness. We knew that we could always get that chip underway with six sailors if we had to, if if the operational environment crisis, uh, drove us to that. But what we wanted to do was move people aboard off off the ship as quickly as we could. That’s why we had people. The Naval Station, working 24 7 open up. The initial requirement was 1000 beds, and so they exceeded expectations with more than 2400 beds within a week I haven’t been able to come to, Ah, great understanding of why the email either. And so there were really three courses of action that were that were either in planning or an execution. So the course of action that was an execution again, safety being the primary issue here was to get people off the ship to Naval Base Guam into available accommodations, right? The second KOA, which was more constrained, was to augment the first co. With hotels from hotel rooms from from Guam and again, ship pulls on Friday. Negotiation Saturday, Sunday agreement on Monday, the third KOA, which was which was contingency planning, was toe look at space available in Okinawa. That was a bigger lift. So if we need it for 1000 beds at Naval Base, Guam, and it became physically impossible to do that, could we take a small segment of the crew and move them to Okinawa into three Mets accommodations? Right, That’s an eight hour flight. Operationally, it’s not what we wanted, but again, if safeties thing one, that’s what we would have looked at. So that was 1/3 KOA and to be quite honest with you, Ah, Captain Crozier was very frustrated that the ship was spending time working that contingency koa. And so my response to that is that if you’re planning for the for the Okinawa Co. Of the Airlift Cola, if that was taken away from the resources and focus, you had a place on the code that was an execution, and you’re talking to the Seventh Fleet commander every day. There’s your opportunity for fearless communications. Say, Look, I need to reorder priorities. Or if there was confusion, as you’ll see in the report about whether people should be tested before they moved to accommodations. The seventh Fleet commander cleared that up within hours because that’s conflicting guidance. Get him off quickly. Was the primary thing tests before getting off was with limited testing capability that time would have conflicted with that. So this is all about if you have constraints or barriers and you can’t break immature level. Yeah, you got to shoot a flare because I can’t do what you told me to dio. That wasn’t happening. That’s part of the That’s the part of the piece that I spoke to Miss Star about that I did not see that gripping the problem that driving solutions, getting after it. And it was, quite frankly, it was disappointing. All right, we’ll go back. The phones. Idris from Reuters. Thanks. Just a quick question. Other than Captain Crozier and the strike Group, commander, they’re going to any other punishment up and down the chain or on the ship. And secondly, at any point just going back 90 questions at any point. Did you hear from the White House during the investigation about what their preferences were? Any communication from the White House about by the investigation? Answer the first question. Um, no, Admiral, It’s like this is said, this is with respect to the to the White House. I know the answer. The question from the White House. I received no communication whatsoever with anybody at the White House. I’ve only communicated up the chain of command to the secretary of Defense. Second question had to do with additional personnel on the ship for potential administrative or punitive action. So the recommendation made in the report that I endorsed is for administrative action to be taken against the CEO of Theodore Roosevelt. Um, the uh, the carrier Air Wing commander um embarked aboard the ship’s medical officer who’s part of the cruise company. And so I have. I will be giving direction to the commander of Pacific Fleet that he will take care of that administrative action. The reason I’m not doing that from the Pentagon is because those types of letters as an example, whether they’re punitive or non punitive letters of reprimand that’s correspondents directly between a senior and a subordinate. Not not the scene, you know. And so I’m putting this back in the chain of command when it belongs. Ah, and there’s no hesitation by Admiral actually know to do that. So he will take a look at the report, and then he will determine the tone, the substance, the level of of administrative action that needs to be taken. All right, we’ll come back for your care. Thank you So in your investigation determined that the conflicts were not a likely factor, and it would most likely would have been the port visit Vietnam, who authorized the port visit and is that person being held accountable and then thinking back to that port visit at the time when we were asking questions about it, the answers were of the tenor. What we didn’t know that Vietnam, you know, there’s only a few cases Didn’t really know the extent of this at the same time, getting briefings of everyone else. Plans were in development of how toe handle cove it even his own building was still dealing with have a socially distance at the time. So how do you hold captain closure to a standard that people were still figuring out as this was unfolding on his ship? So that will be part of the investigation. You can read, but But part of that s so let me let me speak to that for just a moment. So determinations were made during the planning phase is for weeks and then the days leading up that port visit with their communications with the CDC director in Vietnam, the W H. O. At that time. And still, I think to this day Vietnam has been as received among the highest grades of any country in the world, consistently, with respect to preventative actions and containment actions that they’ve taken at the time, the questions that we had who, whether or not the 60 known cases in the vicinity of Hanoi, which was 450 miles from the port Danang, whether or not those were considered to be accurate. And the CDC director through the CDC in Washington told us that there is a high degree of confidence that that reporting was accurate and the Vietnamese were being transparent. So based on indications like that, as well as precautions that we put in place as an example, the theater Roosevelt was among our first shifts. And I would say, among the first military units to have a testing capability for Cove it we had we had tested capability for influence alike, like illnesses, and that and that same equipment could could test for covert. So we had covert testing. We brought on a preventive medical team that has an understanding of viruses like Cove it. We brought them onto TR. Everybody in the crew is brief. Their symptoms were checked before they left the ship. When they came back to the ship, any location that they went to had to be approved by the Department of State Hotels clubs. The crews of both the bunker hill it was pierced side in Roosevelt that was anchored were not allowed to buy food import. There were 39 members of the crew that we discovered had, uh, had been in a hotel where they were to, uh, there were there were two covert possible code cases. When we learned that we brought everybody assure from liberty ship got underway the next day, those 39 people were testing quarantined. None of the initial positives were among those 39. So based on both planning and the precautions that went into that, we think that at the time that those that that those judgments were sound And so that determination was made by the Pac Fleet Commander who ah, who briefed up and received concurrence from from the Indo Pacific Command Commander so just developed the PAC Fleet commander authorized the port visit. Ultimately, uh, the Indo paid come commander authorized support visit. Also following on that, um, you know, decisions sound at the time. Did you end up interviewing captain Closure? Did he ever explain that he was using his own best sound decisions at the time to do X y Z? That that’s a good question. So I think, uh, don’t put your dream up, but I think what you’re really getting at is looking at this, looking at the facts through the context of what was going on at the time. Are we holding two commanders to different standards? So it’s a good question. I don’t think so. So if I take a look at what Crozier was dealing with and yeah, we had a lot of questions at that time about the transmission of asymptomatic cases would be a good example in highly Viers behaved. But what we surely knew, we surely knew that anybody that tested positive had to be isolated. And we were doing that. And we surely knew that anybody that came in contact, that anybody would positive had to be quarantined and that we surely knew that we’re in a better place getting those people off the ship. So even given what we didn’t understand about Cove it, we understood that. And so, you know, commanders, uh, had have been another commander, whether it was a strike commander or or ship’s commander, I think we wouldn’t be in this position right now. Next question is for the secretary. So one of the biggest pieces of fallout from all this waas, of course, former acting secretary, movies, behavior and sort of attention that that created with sailors throughout the Navy, but particularly on the TR. So now that you’re in this position in your it’s time to smooth that over what kind of plan do you have to get out to the fleet and kind of heal that relationship between sailors and their civilian secretary? Thank you for that question. I’ve been in the job. Now, this is the conclusion of my third week. I’ve already had the opportunity Teoh visit Ah, with our sailors and Marines twice. Um, this week I didn’t get out because we’re in the midst of some deep budget discussions. But I don’t think there is any more important role as a secretary then assuring the men and women of the Navy that there is a steady and firm leadership of their department. I’ve really enjoyed thes visits. I flew aboard the Harry S. Truman on my fourth day in the job, and last week I went down aboard the Ford as well as over to any Assoc Anna to visit our sailors. And I can tell you that the morale of the men and women is very good, and I think we can put some of these incidents behind us, especially now that we’ve concluded this, we can move on, um, and focus on what we need to focus on, and that’s readiness and being able, Teoh appropriately defend the United States. You’ve been sharing with them? Yes. So I talked a lot about culture. I’ve talked a lot about our duty to those that we serve with left and right. A swell as those who have gone before us, as well as that being reflective on who we are to attract the sailors and marines of the future. Um, I’ve also reassured him of my intent to look out for their best interests. Whether that’s to ensure they get the right, um, resource is to do their jobs appropriately, Aziz. Well is to support them with the right type of benefits and other things that we provide them. Um, And then finally, again, just reassuring them that we understand. Ah, how demanding and challenging role that they have, whether they’re at sea or assure, um, it can be a very demanding thing to serve in the uniform of our nation. All right, mammogram will come next high. Oh, just a follow up by the idea of scope of command. So you talked about Captain Crozier. Scope of command. Can you talk a little bit more about what the scope of commitment of responsibilities were for Admiral Baker? And then beyond that, it seems like you’re drawing a pretty thick line around the strike group in and of itself. What about the CTF 70? Commander? What findings did you have that seven Fleet Commander may have I had a responsibility or things that they could have done differently. Or did that stop inside the striper? Thank you. So I go, I go back to San. Thanks. The question I go back to, uh, his ship, his crew, his plan, his plan to drive and execute all the other echelons, their job to support. And I gave examples of the things that were going on across the theater to support TR. And so, within the span of control of those other commanders, I saw positive action. I saw I saw a great initiative. I saw great follow up. We didn’t necessarily. When When, for example, Kroger’s captain Crozier sent that email tackle aka Lino. Um he called them because he said, I don’t understand what else you need that we’re not providing at one or two echelons or three echelons up from you. And the response was to go faster with the hotels again. I go back to never check the fax. The hotel deal was done six hours prior. Um, it was I don’t have a good good answer for the exact why he sent that email. We’ve never received a good answer with respect to that. But I do think that I have enough evidence within Croshere Baker’s span of control. A question, their decision making get settled. Thank you. Question for a Memorial Day. If Adam Davidson ultimately made the decision to allow or bury it to tell the fear of Roosevelt, have the poor call Vietnam. Why is he not being disciplined? Because we found no fault with the rationale to make the decision to go in a port. The earlier you had mentioned something about going to Vietnam during this Kobe pandemic, some a little unclear on that, but the same time you’re holding the captain to a higher standard than the person who sent his ship into Vietnam. Why? I disagree. So the decision the decision on the port visit was made a week before the wh. Joe declared covert a pandemic. At the time they made the port visit the Department of State. Travel advisory level is level one. No prick ought. No additional precautions required. We took a look at several. We did not make a decision to make that port visit until the day before We exhausted several means. Andi. Sources of information before he made it termination. Put that ship in a port. We had no positive cases in Danang. As a good example. The Bunker hill was pure side. We’ve had zero positive cases on that cruiser. Well, one last one cruciate bearing with me. Adam Davidson made the decision to send the Gerald the theater, Roosevelt to Vietnam and the sailor died. How is this not a case of difference banks for different ranks? I So we took a look at that decision and going to go in the port. We found that that decision is sound. We lay all this out, all the evidence that I just, uh I’ve just provided off the top of my head. There’s additional information that led us to conclude that that was a sound decision that risk was adequately considered and mitigated by a lot of precautions that we that we put in place testing equipment, medical experts, testing symptoms of the crew on and off the ship immediately securing liberty. When we did found out that they could have been in contact with somebody in a hotel getting underway within 24 hours. So there’s a number of things that Advil Davis, who was winning off that were that were that were justified. I think that that will be the test of scrutiny. All right, well, take two final questions from the phones Tonique Apache or your first high end looking. You hear me, Admiral? I want to check one thing. Is it fair to say that had not Secretary esperan pushed back on your original investigation, you would not have done the deeper dive? I can’t say that. And so my discussions after I made I made my recommendation to Secretary make fear acting secretary McPherson and the only communications I had after making my recommendation, I I did present my findings to Secretary Esper. At the time, he did not agree or disagree with my presentation. It was the following ah week when I met with Acting Secretary McPherson when he directed me to conduct a deeper investigation because he thought that there might be more to the story than the narrowly focused investigation that were originally directed to do a time secretary. McPherson thought that my that my recommendations were sound based on the facts and the facts that I the case that I the case that I presented the determination that I made off the facts that I reviewed in both of these investigations. I’ve come to my conclusions based on the facts. Was the original investigation rushed those in retrospection? She just have waited course, given a secretary, Braithwaite captured very well given a choice. Yes, we should have been a We should have did a broader investigation. Um, you know, with the time we were looking at a very narrowly focused investigation, the Navy was served better by a broader investigation. I did not. Ah, and nobody in the Navy pushed back in that direction to look more deeply at this issue. All right, last question. Paul McLeary from breaking fence. All right. My claim will come to you, then. Here. All right. Thank you all very much for your time today. Thank you.

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