Acting U.S. SecNav: Crozier "Too Naive or Too Stupid to ... Command"
April 6, 2020 4:00 PM   Subscribe

The Acting Secretary of the Navy said that COVID19 patient and former Theodore Roosevelt Captain Crozier was "too naive or too stupid to be the commanding officer of a ship like this" because he did not take into account that the private intra-Navy communication would become public. When his speech was leaked ... it was argued that it was a private intra-Navy communication, not meant for public consumption. Tweed Roosevelt weighs in.
posted by WCityMike (211 comments total) 51 users marked this as a favorite
Tweed's op-ed is pretty damning. Not just a parallel, but AN EXACT PARALLEL situation.
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 4:12 PM on April 6 [33 favorites]

The acting Secretary of The Navy Thomas Modly is an American businessman and government official.
posted by valkane at 4:13 PM on April 6 [5 favorites]

Yeah, click on the ship name for the relevant Wikipedia article about the Round-Robin letter.
posted by WCityMike at 4:19 PM on April 6

Listen to the audio at 1:57 where a sailor in the background lets out a huge "WHAT THE FUCK?"

Modly only has this job because he was the only one that was okay with Trump pardoning Eddie Gallagher.
posted by JoeZydeco at 4:27 PM on April 6 [78 favorites]

Modly isn't fit to shine Captain Crozier's boots.

Fuck these horrible fuckers.
posted by Windopaene at 4:27 PM on April 6 [60 favorites]

Can someone help me bypass the paywall for the last link?
posted by RolandOfEld at 4:30 PM on April 6

RolandOfEid: try this.
posted by WCityMike at 4:32 PM on April 6 [7 favorites]

Alexandra Petri in the WaPo: Look for the helpers. Then fire them.
posted by jocelmeow at 4:41 PM on April 6 [38 favorites]

Fuck these horrible fuckers.

True enough.

That said, I’m equally disappointed by the deafening silence of the career Navy brass (including, apparently, the admiral who was aboard the TR) who are seemingly sitting on their thumbs quietly watching Crozier being torpedoed by this fucked-up administration. I’m not saying a mutiny against the CinC is in order, but failing to have the back of Crozier sends a very, very bad message throughout the entire Navy. Fuck those fuckers, too.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:41 PM on April 6 [67 favorites]

Modly has no future unless The Orange King maintains power.

His fate is sealed.
posted by Max Power at 4:43 PM on April 6 [4 favorites]

> Modly has no future unless The Orange King maintains power.

And that is the entire premise of Trump's Mafia Don strategy: everyone around him is personally invested in keeping him in office so as to ensure they themselves are protected.
posted by mrzarquon at 4:55 PM on April 6 [100 favorites]

Modly has no future unless The Orange King maintains power.

Moldy didn't have a present if he didn't fly halfway across the world to deliver Trump's message rant about Captain Crozier, just like he didn't have a present if he didn't double down and confirm that he meant exactly what he said.
posted by mikelieman at 4:56 PM on April 6 [5 favorites]

I know its his actual name, but calling this guy Modly makes me think of "Moldy" and is hearkening me back to the days of Dubya and his habit of nicknaming people. I bet he had a "Moldy" somewhere.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 4:58 PM on April 6 [7 favorites]

Modly's navy service got him a commission because pilots have to be officers. He has never commanded other sailors until becoming acting secretary
posted by ocschwar at 5:00 PM on April 6 [29 favorites]

Think about how hard Captain Crozier must have sweated over that letter, knowing that--with these shitstains above him in the chain of command--he was almost certainly authoring his career's doom.
posted by notsnot at 5:19 PM on April 6 [60 favorites]

captain afab, the New York Times had a break down of his career, and it seems like by every account, he was an exceptional person, meeting and surpassing every challenge along his career, including required study and examinations in nuclear physics and the care and maintaining of the nuclear power systems used on air craft carriers. He seems exactly like the kind of person you’d want to make sure has a long career because of the wealth of experience and sheer capability they bring to every situation they’re in.

In that article, it mentioned that the excuse given for firing him wasn’t writing the letter, it was sending it to so many people, in a way that would make it more likely for someone else to leak it. That’s it. That’s their reasoning. And then, here we are with the fucking idiot in charge making asinine comments on a platform that he didn’t understand, causing them to be leaked.

That’s this administration in a nutshell. Those that are competent are to be feared and destroyed, lest they expose those above them for their gross incompetence and grifting. Those above will consistently fail in the exact way they claim is punishable by firing as the competent people lower down the rung, but consequences are only for the little people.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:23 PM on April 6 [129 favorites]

Those that are competent are to be feared and destroyed, lest they expose those above them for their gross incompetence and grifting.

It's like Atlas Shrugged, only the kind of people who love Atlas Shrugged imagine they're the good guys, not the parasites.
posted by ctmf at 5:55 PM on April 6 [21 favorites]

Disabled veteran here, with ten years of service in the Navy. Although I don't always agree with him, fellow Navy retiree and science fiction curmudgeon Jim Wright expresses my feelings about this one so well that I have just been referring people to his essay on this event. No need for me to write-- I would state the same thing, but without Wright's trademark vinegar and sass.

Apologies for the Facebook link, but he hasn't posted this to his blog, Stonekettle Station, yet. The amount of contempt I feel for Modly and how badly this situation was mishandled definitely deserves the full Wright Rage treatment. I feel that rage, too.
posted by seasparrow at 5:57 PM on April 6 [80 favorites]

If there's one glimmer of hope in all of this it seems to me that Trump and his sycophants underestimate both the loyalty and agency the individual soldier and sailor so profoundly that, were some kind of a crisis of governance to occur (as Trump probably wishes it would) few of them would take his side.

I have exactly zero insight though, so I'm curious if that's actually the case, in general. Has he used up his goodwill with the military?
posted by klanawa at 6:07 PM on April 6 [8 favorites]

Seasparrow, most of it is on Stonekettle's Twitter feed.

He's pissed and he is correct.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:15 PM on April 6 [10 favorites]

And that is the entire premise of Trump's Mafia Don strategy

We are all aware of that.
posted by Max Power at 6:27 PM on April 6 [1 favorite]

When we get far enough away from this era for it to end up in history classrooms, I look forward to assigning my students Crozier's letter as a primary source. What a great document, and also the tragedy around it is so entirely emblematic of this administration's greater and specific-to-covid failures.
posted by lilac girl at 6:31 PM on April 6 [14 favorites]

You'd think that there would be some level at which lack of shame was terminal, but apparently it's not essential to life.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:32 PM on April 6 [14 favorites]

One thing I've learned throughout my adult working life is that there is no management so toxic as management whose primary concern is how they're perceived. As far as I can tell, that's all the contemptuous and patronizing lecture was about -- "he's fired because he might have made us look bad; he should have known better than to risk that".
posted by treepour at 6:49 PM on April 6 [54 favorites]

Doyle Hodges earned a doctorate from Princeton University, and has taught at the Naval Academy, the Naval War College, George Mason University, and Princeton: The Navy's crisis of special trust and confidence.
posted by adamvasco at 6:59 PM on April 6 [4 favorites]

I'm not seeing a single supportive comment on Twitter after many minutes of looking. Must have caught even the propaganda farms flat-footed with that breathtaking disaster of a speech.
posted by ctmf at 7:02 PM on April 6 [7 favorites]

And Modly has now apparently "apologized"
posted by nubs at 7:05 PM on April 6 [2 favorites]

He didn't apologize. He clarified that he said either stupid or malicious, and because he doesn't think Crozier is stupid, he was calling him malicious. Ok, maybe he "apologized" for being ambiguous. Not for being a piece of shit.
posted by ctmf at 7:10 PM on April 6 [13 favorites]

He is indeed a piece of shit, and as a merchant mariner I can hold that opinion officially.
posted by valkane at 7:13 PM on April 6 [17 favorites]

It bothers me that all the headlines say "Modly apologizes", implying he takes back any of the substance of what he said. He does not.
posted by ctmf at 7:13 PM on April 6 [18 favorites]

Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said on Monday he stands by "every word" he said to the crew of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, after leaked audio revealed a profanity-laced speech in which he called the ship's former commanding officer "naive" and "stupid."

"The spoken words were from the heart, and meant for them. I stand by every word I said, even, regrettably any profanity that may have been used for emphasis," Modly said in a statement to POLITICO. "Anyone who has served on a Navy ship would understand. I ask, but don’t expect, that people read them in their entirety."
That was just 8 hours ago.
posted by ctmf at 7:16 PM on April 6 [13 favorites]

The 2018 toilet paper on the Presidential Shoe incident shows exactly how much respect Our Dear Leader has earned from the secret service and the military.
posted by monotreme at 7:32 PM on April 6 [8 favorites]

I have to admit, that Tweed fellow has more Teddy Roosevelt in him than most people.
posted by sensate at 7:44 PM on April 6 [1 favorite]

Trump Now Says He Is Going To Intervene In Aircraft Carrier Captain Firing Fiasco (Updated) — Trump says he doesn't 'want to destroy' captain Crozier over 'a bad day' after growing outrage over a speech from the Acting Secretary of the Navy., The War Zone, Joseph Trevithick, 4/6/2020:
President Donald Trump now says he will look into the circumstances surrounding the firing of U.S. Navy Captain Brett Crozier, saying he doesn't believe the officer's career should be at risk for "having a bad day." The service booted Crozier from his job as commanding officer of the Nimitz class aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt ... Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly has come under increasing fire for that decision after a transcript and audio recording of a speech he gave on the carrier this weekend, in which he disparaged Crozier, the media, and the crew, emerged earlier today.
"I haven't heard it [Modly's speech] exactly, I haven't heard - I heard they had a statement that was made and if that were the statement it's a strong statement," Trump said at the daily press conference regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. "I must tell you I've heard very good things about the gentleman, both gentlemen, by the way, I will say this, about both gentlemen, and I may look into it only from the standpoint that something should be resolved, 'cause I'm hearing good things about both people."

"If two good people and they're arguing and I'm good, believe it or not, at settling arguments. I'm good at settling these arguments. So, I may look into it in great detail and I'll be able to figure it out very fast," Trump continued. "His [Captain Crozier's] career prior to that was very good, so I'm going to get involved and see exactly what's going on, because I don't want to destroy somebody for having a bad day."
The Donald simply can't say anything concise without a script, but he's sticking to one of the first rules of politics: find a crowd that's going somewhere and get in front of it. In any event, perhaps Trump hopes a merciful gesture (towards Captain Crozier) will also reflect well on him.
posted by cenoxo at 7:52 PM on April 6 [14 favorites]

I think he thinks cutting Crozier some slack will distract the torch and pitchfork crowd after Modly's head, and let him play the big man dealmaker. Even his right wing base is pissed about this one. But let's be realistic, Crozier is done. Even if he gets his job back, he'll never get the flag. Trump holds a grudge. Once nobody's paying attention, Crozier will lose his job again over something like a poor INSURV inspection. They'll find the ship is in poor material condition, while not mentioning that everyone who knows knows that's a "no shit - we've been riding them hard and not giving you money or time to maintain them" situation.
posted by ctmf at 8:05 PM on April 6 [13 favorites]

Trump: "I must tell you I've heard very good things about the gentleman, both gentlemen, by the way"

So, very fine people on both sides. Trump is such a coward, always seeking approval from everyone.
posted by JackFlash at 8:09 PM on April 6 [14 favorites]

From the same War Zone article:
UPDATE: 8:05pm EST:

Modly has now also issued a rebuttal [Navy Live: 404 Not Found] defending his decision to fire Captain Crozier [*] in response to an op-ed that Tweed Roosevelt, the great-grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt, the Theodore Roosevelt's namesake, had published in The New York Times on Apr. 3. The Acting Secretary of the Navy's response is as follows:

"I have the utmost respect for Mr. Roosevelt and his family’s immense heritage of service to the nation. In the case of Captain Crozier, however, he is wrong. I suspect he has no other motive than to defend a courageous man, a man in the arena, but he simply does not have access to the relevant facts that led to the captain’s dismissal."

"Capt. Crozier’s emotional letter on official Navy letterhead, addressed to no one in particular, was attached to an email which he distributed broadly to multiple addressees. It began “My Fellow Naval Aviators.” It included, and intentionally excluded, various people from his direct chain of command."
*The rest of Modly's rebuttal to Tweed Roosevelt is quoted in the article.
posted by cenoxo at 8:14 PM on April 6 [4 favorites]

Trump has reached into his lizard brain and decided that acting like he supported Crozier from the beginning is the way to go, and that it’s now time to pull the “Modly? Don’t know him, never met him.” routine. Expect Modly gone in days.
posted by Ghidorah at 8:32 PM on April 6 [9 favorites]

Trump has reached into his lizard brain and decided that acting like he supported Crozier from the beginning is the way to go, and that it’s now time to pull the “Modly? Don’t know him, never met him.” routine. Expect Modly gone in days.

Modly strikes me as the sort of turd who would, upon his firing over this shit show, would release the email from the White House ordering him to fire Crozier. One can hope, anyway.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:45 PM on April 6 [7 favorites]

"Acting Navy secretary Thomas Modly, in an extensive interview about the firing of the commander of a disease-threatened aircraft carrier, said he acted because he believed the captain was “panicking” under pressure — and wanted to make the move himself, before President Trump ordered the captain’s dismissal."
(D. Ignatius WaPo)

"Most of the power of authoritarianism is freely given. In times like these, individuals think ahead about what a more repressive government will want, and then offer themselves without being asked. A citizen who adapts in this way is teaching power what it can do."
(T. Snyder. On Tyranny. p. 17)

Trump has more and better teachers every day. This is the one lesson he seems able to learn.
posted by Gotanda at 8:46 PM on April 6 [51 favorites]

Imagine serving 7 years in the Navy, earning a chopper pilot's rank and decorations, honorable discharge, and moving on. Modest, but perfectly respectable.

Then imagine in 6 months ruining that honor in 5 minutes.

Everything Trump touches dies.
posted by ocschwar at 8:55 PM on April 6 [19 favorites]

Modly strikes me as the sort of turd who would, upon his firing over this shit show, would release the email from the White House ordering him to fire Crozier. One can hope, anyway.

Hahahahaha, just like Comey did? Just like Scaramucci did? Just like Spicer did? And Kelly? And Bolton? And Mulvaney?
posted by tclark at 9:05 PM on April 6 [17 favorites]

Nielsen? Mattis? Tillerson? McMaster? Omarosa? Bannon? This is just off the top of my head. I can look up dozens more. They're all keeping his secrets. Every one of them.
posted by tclark at 9:10 PM on April 6 [21 favorites]

Jesus Christ, when you're in a hole, first stop digging.

NEW: public affairs folks sent this notice out to leadership on the USS Theodore Roosevelt, telling them to tell their sailors they didn’t have permission to record SECNAV Modly and that bashing “Senior Leaders” online won’t help anything. Stay out the “negative media spotlight”

Basically, threatening to kick them out of Guam if they don't behave.
posted by ctmf at 9:12 PM on April 6 [20 favorites]

Damn, edit window closed seconds before I finished fixing that link.
NEW: etc.
posted by ctmf at 9:19 PM on April 6 [1 favorite]

That "what the fuck" seems a fair summary. How many more indignities will those in the military suffer, I wonder, before they decide they have had enough of these people?
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 9:20 PM on April 6 [3 favorites]

You know, this would make a great origin story for a politician, if he lives.
posted by LucretiusJones at 9:35 PM on April 6 [1 favorite]

Notice to governments in this Information Age: anything you say, write, or post can (and will) be used against you.
posted by cenoxo at 9:37 PM on April 6

I think that was always true when addressing hundreds of people in a group.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 9:39 PM on April 6 [4 favorites]

You know, this would make a great origin story for a politician, if he lives.

Maybe he could do a badass campaign ad.
posted by Naberius at 9:41 PM on April 6 [3 favorites]

public affairs folks sent this notice out to leadership on the USS Theodore Roosevelt, telling them to tell their sailors they didn’t have permission to record SECNAV Modly and that bashing “Senior Leaders” online won’t help anything. Stay out the “negative media spotlight”

Isn't it rather ironic that this is exactly what they fired Crozier for, being indiscreet. This Modly guy thought his speech to 4000 sailors wouldn't leak out to the public and the "negative media spotlight"? He seems rather naive and stupid.
posted by JackFlash at 9:44 PM on April 6 [45 favorites]

Modly repeats what I'm sure is the narrative going forward: the pandemic is all China's fault, because they were "not forthcoming." As opposed to the president, apparently.

I can't believe they can spin this even a little. Remember how the right wing media freaked out when a person with Ebola flew back to the US (recovering and infecting zero other people)? Now 200,000 dead is amazingly great. What the fuck?
posted by netowl at 9:51 PM on April 6 [10 favorites]

Remember how the right wing media freaked out when a person with Ebola flew back to the US (recovering and infecting zero other people)? Now 200,000 dead is amazingly great. What the fuck?

Maybe they’re not acting in good faith?
posted by mr_roboto at 9:53 PM on April 6 [31 favorites]

Didn't any of these people ever watch MASH?
posted by ocschwar at 9:56 PM on April 6 [12 favorites]

Let us not forget the other aircraft carrier that also has Coronavirus infected sailors, the USS Ronald Reagan.

A second aircraft carrier is reportedly facing a COVID-19 outbreak, Task & Purpose, Jared Keller, 3/29/2020:
The USS Theodore Roosevelt isn't the only Navy aircraft carrier in the Western Pacific that's currently dealing [with] the threat of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) among its sailors.

Fox News reports, citing U.S. officials, that the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier has two sailors who have tested positive for COVID-19 in recent days.

Details in the Fox News report are limited, and while Task & Purpose was unable to independently confirm those cases, the report comes amid news of a potential COVID-19 outbreak at Yokosuka Naval base.
Now Both Aircraft Carriers In The Western Pacific Have COVID-19 Cases, Raising Readiness Concerns — Sailors from a carrier forward deployed to Japan had contracted the virus as confirmed cases grow onboard another flattop in Guam, The War Zone, Joseph Trevithick; 3/27/2020:
Two sailors onboard the Nimitz class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, which forward-deployed in Japan and presently pier-side there, have tested positive for the COVID-19 novel coronavirus. This comes just a day after the U.S. Navy announced it had quarantined the entire crew of another aircraft carrier, the USS Theodore Roosevelt, on their ship in port in Guam after a number of sailors contracted the virus.
It's unclear what impacts the COVID-19 cases may have on Reagan's readiness. The ship is presently in port undergoing maintenance. It is, however, still a worrying development that could leave the Navy with no forward-deployed carriers in the Pacific region. Together, Roosevelt and Reagan also represent a fifth of the Navy's Nimitz class ships, the Navy's only truly operational supercarriers.
I don't think there's been any news about the Reagan since the Navy stopped identifying ships and/or sailors with COVID-19 infections last week.
posted by cenoxo at 10:31 PM on April 6 [2 favorites]

As of yesterday, all people at a DoD facility (read:service members on military bases) must wear a mask at all times. This order was given along with instructions on how to make a mask for yourself.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 10:40 PM on April 6 [2 favorites]

My brother is a petty officer, first class in the US Navy. When I talked to him earlier today, he told me that in a Facebook group of fellow E-6’s, somebody posted the video of Capt. Crozier’s sendoff with the comment “Someone needs to fix this” and the first response was “That someone just got fired”.

Modly truly doesn’t know how thoroughly he fucked up.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 10:48 PM on April 6 [9 favorites]

More about the DoD face mask order at Military Times, 4/5/2020: SECDEF issues guidelines for how troops will start wearing face coverings in public to prevent COVID-19 spread.

Here's a PDF copy of the Secretary of Defense Memorandum > SUBJECT: Department of Defense Guidance on the Use of Cloth Face Coverings, April 5, 2020.
posted by cenoxo at 11:01 PM on April 6 [2 favorites]

You know, this would make a great origin story for a politician, if he lives.

That was one of the first things I thought, that it’s hard to imagine a more perfect launching of a political career. Lord, I hope he’s not some absurd ultra conservative, as I imagine he’ll be a member of Congress before the end of the decade.
posted by Ghidorah at 11:27 PM on April 6 [4 favorites]

You know, this would make a great origin story for a politician, if he lives.

The reason why LucretiusJones said this is that Captain Crozier has tested positive for COVID-19.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 1:31 AM on April 7 [6 favorites]

This is why you should be organizing, even as you're confined in your home. This is why you should be doing everything you can to register voters, even if you live in a blue state and especially if you live in a red state. The GOP has punched above their weight due to organization. We are the majority. If we organize and vote, nothing can stop us.


Register voters.

Commit to getting the vote out!
posted by ivanthenotsoterrible at 3:17 AM on April 7 [21 favorites]

all people at a DoD facility (read:service members on military bases) must wear a mask at all times. This order was given along with instructions on how to make a mask for yourself

So, the US military, which the richest country in the world spends the most money on to make the most badass overprepared fight-on-two-major-fronts force in the world, which has had biodefense on its radar for years if not decades... also can't provide its personnel with masks.

I fully expect market capitalism to deprive medical staff of masks -- profit driven healthcare is going to look for margins to eliminate. And everyone *expects* Republican leadership to move in the direction of cutting safety margins for the public, and it's been a long time since they were even remotely shy about it.

But the military. Good lord. We feed it amazing sums of money and no small portion of human potential for margins of safety we expect might often be directly cost-inefficient. If it doesn't have biohazard backup margins for personnel, what hope is there that *any* of our institutions aren't being hollowed out?

Any bad state actor that has bioengineering capabilities is taking note *right now* about how easy things have been made for them.
posted by wildblueyonder at 3:58 AM on April 7 [25 favorites]

Any bad state actor that has bioengineering capabilities is taking note *right now* about how easy things have been made for them.

Any bad state actor that has bioengineering capabilities is already intensely aware of all of the pitfalls of biological warfare and is therefore exactly zero microns closer to releasing a bug than they were a week, a month, or a year ago.
posted by Etrigan at 4:43 AM on April 7 [19 favorites]

DIY T-Shirt Masks and Balaclavas: Military Services Release Face-Covering Guidance,, Oriana Pawlyk, 4/6/2020. Scroll down to DIY t-shirt training video “US Troops Make DIY Coronavirus Face Masks”.

Give yourself the shirt off your back.
posted by cenoxo at 4:48 AM on April 7 [4 favorites]

Any bad state actor that has bioengineering capabilities is taking note *right now* about how easy things have been made for them.

In addition to what Etrigan said, using a weapon of mass destruction against US forces seems a profoundly unwise thing to do, especially when a flighty, easily-insulted dickhead is in charge of said forces.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 5:23 AM on April 7 [4 favorites]

Should I Start Wearing a Mask? The C.D.C. now recommends we cover our faces in public. Here is our guidance on how to best protect yourself, whether you have a mask or not., New York Times, Tara Parker-Pope, 4/5/2020.
posted by cenoxo at 5:27 AM on April 7

...using a weapon of mass destruction...

But now, any COVID-19 infected person – sufficiently dedicated to whatever insane cause they’ve convinced themselves of – becomes a potential weapon of mass destruction simply by breathing on someone else, then walking away unnoticed. It wouldn’t take a lot of technology, expertise, or expense to do this.
posted by cenoxo at 5:53 AM on April 7 [1 favorite]

This will be the best Last Week with John Oliver ever, evahh. The writers must be just texting each other back and forth, yess, yesss, omg-yess, no no nobody's that st...yessss!
posted by sammyo at 6:26 AM on April 7 [3 favorites]

reactions in /r/Navy. This one stands out: "To the sailor who recorded this and the people who know he did, keep your mouths shut. You haven't killed any POWs so they don't like you and will fuck you with a nonskid dildo"
posted by exogenous at 6:28 AM on April 7 [32 favorites]

That's what you get for putting a Ferengi in charge of the navy.
posted by DreamerFi at 7:10 AM on April 7 [13 favorites]

reactions in /r/Navy

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it's not a toxic subreddit, and that the general consensus is "Fuck Modly"
posted by mikelieman at 7:23 AM on April 7 [9 favorites]

reactions in /r/Navy

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it's not a toxic subreddit, and that the general consensus is "Fuck Modly"

Two of my most toxic Army buddies are also the most "Fuck Modly" dudes in my circle. He really did fuck up, and the only reason he isn't already gone is that Trump also actively hates servicemembers and will only take action on this particular thing if Fox News makes it obvious that he'll lose voters over it.
posted by Etrigan at 7:36 AM on April 7 [11 favorites]

So, the US military, which the richest country in the world spends the most money on to make the most badass overprepared fight-on-two-major-fronts force in the world, which has had biodefense on its radar for years if not decades... also can't provide its personnel with masks.

It's worse than that.

There's a metric shit-ton of gear that covers the face that the Army already fucking issues. Balaclavas. Neck gaiters can be pulled over the face trivially easily. I understand you don't want your soldiers walking around in MOPP4 at all times, no one is asking that but like...having them all sew masks is stupid.

Also, on the Modly remark thing...what has me cracking up is his "Uh, I got your questions, and uh, I'm going to answer them later." Which suggests to me there's a lot of politely worded 'why are you a monster' questions in there.
posted by corb at 8:08 AM on April 7 [14 favorites]

"Uh, I got your questions, and uh, I'm going to answer them later." = [...once you have been identified, you can look forward to spending the rest of your careers on Shemya, shifting rocks from the western shores of that island to the eastern shores.]

I am a former military person; I can't possibly express the magnitude of Modly's error. If Fuckups were stars, he'd be a galaxy. It doesn't matter that he was manifesting the Dear Leader's will.

A real danger may come to pass if our armed forces decide to ignore the Clown in Chief. Our government will have devolved into a failed experiment, but in truth that would be the lesser disaster; the greater one being to continue to obey him. We become another failure of the noble experiment.

This is beyond a mrsmithgoestowashington moment.
posted by mule98J at 9:13 AM on April 7 [18 favorites]

All of this just goes to show that the people in power don't care a toss about individuals at all.
They just worry about their own image and how that is going to be affected.
And DT is the last person to be in a position to criticize service personnel having lied and invented "injuries" to avoid the draft.
I cannot imagine any service member willing to sacrifice themselves for him; mind you I cannot imagine anyone being happy serving alongside him either.
posted by Burn_IT at 9:24 AM on April 7 [2 favorites]

In terms of the armed forces reaction, I think even a lot of military people who are more or less accepting of the actual firing are boggled at the childishness of the Navy secretary flying half way around the world to whine at the sailors for being loyal to their captain. I mean... it's pretty likely Crozier would have been relieved in the same circumstances even under Obama, because the US Navy has a very long history of deciding, when a disaster happens or even if they are just embarrassed, that it was the captain's fault. That goes all the way back to "failure to zig-zag in moonlight" and probably before.

Of course, Obama would have had actual competent people in charge so the situation would probably not arise.
posted by tavella at 9:48 AM on April 7 [16 favorites]

...once you have been identified, you can look forward to spending the rest of your careers on Shemya, shifting rocks from the western shores of that island to the eastern shores.

These are like, E-2s to E4s, I'm pretty sure it's more like 'go to captain's mast and get busted down a rank that you no longer care about because you don't believe in the Navy anymore when this is what just happened.'

Also, the fact that the press secretary was like 'hey guys please stop shitposting about this on your social media" means a LOT of TR sailors had some Strong Opinions about Modly on FB.
posted by corb at 9:53 AM on April 7 [5 favorites]

> As of yesterday, all people at a DoD facility (read:service members on military bases) must wear a mask at all times. This order was given along with instructions on how to make a mask for yourself.

And the masks have to be in certain colors, which makes sense in some ways -- there are some crazy novelty prints out there -- but means that, for example, my local "let's sew masks out of the fabric we have in our stashes and give them away" group can't make masks for them.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:29 AM on April 7 [2 favorites]

posted by ZeusHumms at 12:19 PM on April 7 [3 favorites]

well that happened a few days earlier than I predicted.
posted by Hermeowne Grangepurr at 12:30 PM on April 7 [4 favorites]

As of yesterday, all people at a DoD facility (read:service members on military bases) must wear a mask at all times.

While the commander-in-chief refuses to do the same? "The new symbol of patriotism in pandemic-stricken America is a medical mask. And no surprise that President Donald Trump -- ever the defiant and self-involved Baby Boomer -- says he would only wear one if he "thought it was important.""
posted by furtive_jackanapes at 12:33 PM on April 7 [10 favorites]

Trump has named Army Undersecretary James McPherson to replace Modly. McPherson was the Judge Advocate General of the Navy (then a two-star admiral who oversees all Navy lawyers and has a key role in setting legal policy) in the Bush administration and more recently was the General Counsel of the Army.
posted by Etrigan at 1:37 PM on April 7 [5 favorites]

To be fair, Modly did send out his normal (and now last) all-hands memo today (I just got it a few minutes ago), and he did write a very sincere sounding, unqualified apology for his behavior.

Or maybe someone wrote it for him, but I was impressed.
posted by ctmf at 2:13 PM on April 7 [1 favorite]


20 MINION_SAY("assholish stupid thing")
50 GOTO 10
posted by benzenedream at 2:32 PM on April 7 [36 favorites]

Or in MTG form:

Acting Secretary (2 Black, 2 Red)
Creature - Human Sycophant

Trample, Haste

You may sacrifice an Acting Secretary you control instead of paying this creature's casting cost. If you do, Acting Secretary comes into play tapped.

During your upkeep, if you have fewer than three Scandal tokens in play, you may untap Acting Secretary

(2), ᴦ: Sacrifice Acting Secretary: Until the end of your next turn, you gain control of target Media Cycle
(8): Transform Acting Secretary into a Secretary Creature of your choosing. Play this ability only if you control the Senate.

*/*, where * is equal to the number of swamps you control.
posted by Room 101 at 4:13 PM on April 7 [21 favorites]

I wish I could claim some sort of great psychic powers over this, but this is literally on the level of wowing the villagers by telling them that the sun, in fact, will rise in the morning, and then it happens:

Exhibit A

Trump has reached into his lizard brain and decided that acting like he supported Crozier from the beginning is the way to go, and that it’s now time to pull the “Modly? Don’t know him, never met him.” routine. Expect Modly gone in days.
posted by Ghidorah at 1:32 PM on April 7

Exhibit B
President Trump said Tuesday that he had no direct involvement in Mr. Modly’s resignation, but he came to his defense, saying that he would not have asked him to resign, suggesting that he was disappointed in that decision.

“I would not have asked him. I don’t know him. I didn’t speak to him, but he did that,” Mr. Trump said.

For my next shocking revelations: Trump is using stimulus to funnel money to his company which is reliant on tourism. Kushner is probably trying to be allowed to do the same for his real estate holdings, but Daddy is telling him no, and water is, in fact, wet.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:11 PM on April 7 [4 favorites]

Modly's apology is in his final official memorandum, SECNAV VECTOR 19, available to read (and download) at Scribd.

More details about his brief, behind-the-scenes visit to the USS Theodore Roosevelt and subsequent resignation are in the article: Navy Secretary Resigns Amid Political Firestorm Over Firing Of Carrier Captain (Updated) — The news comes a day after a transcript and audio emerged of the Navy's top civilian making a tirade of an address to the aircraft carrier's crew., The War Zone, Joseph Trevithick, 4/7/2020.
posted by cenoxo at 6:59 PM on April 7 [1 favorite]

I am genuinely surprised that Trump didn't nominate Eddie Gallagher to replace Modly.
posted by MrBadExample at 7:49 PM on April 7 [3 favorites]

Remember back when we measured time in Scaramuccis? Seems like we have a new contender for a short time unit.
posted by achrise at 7:51 PM on April 7 [3 favorites]

“I would not have asked him. I don’t know him. I didn’t speak to him, but he did that,” Mr. Trump said.

'I don't know him': The many times Donald Trump's acquaintances suddenly became strangers
posted by ActingTheGoat at 7:57 PM on April 7 [3 favorites]


Trump may well try to do that but the bill has a clause that makes it illegal for any of the Cabinet, the President, the President's family, or Jared Kushner (yes he is specifically called out on pg. 556, line 18 of the stimulus bill as, "son-in-law") from using any of the stimulus money for businesses that they own. Congress is not normally effective and there is usually so much that can go wrong with something this large and quickly assembled. And there are massive tax-breaks that our plutocrats in office will get to take advantage of so there is that. Still they are legally prohibited from just funneling money into their pockets.

And good riddance to Modly.
posted by Ignorantsavage at 11:44 PM on April 7

Trump is using stimulus to funnel money to his company

My hypothesis is that Trump fired Crozier and Modly, with the purpose of distracting the public from firing the inspector general providing oversight of $2T of taxpayer money.

Distraction supports his reelection efforts.

Every dollar of that money will be funneled in all possibly-loopholed ways to his companies and those of his friends, but will also go to his electoral pet projects — very possibly including to the promised wall with Mexico, so that he can rile up his racist voter base before November.

China's terrible mistakes over how it handled the initial outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 virus only help him with spending money to push his xenophobic America First ideology.

Firing Crozier and Modly — and the outrage over Crozier's firing, which he can pass along to Modly — distracts the public from what he is doing about spending oversight.

The Covid-19 disease disproportionately kills black American voters. His Supreme Court voted — remotely — to endanger voters, by closing voting stations and forcing voters into dangerous socially constricted spaces.

Firing Crozier and Modly — and the outrage over Crozier's firing, which he can pass along to Modly — distracts the public from what he is doing to kill and endanger the lives of voters who would not support him in November.

Everything is about November. Crozier and Modley are just collateral damage, as far as he is concerned.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 1:48 AM on April 8 [3 favorites]

Still they are legally prohibited from just funneling money into their pockets.

I'd feel so much more willing to believe that will hold up if Trump hadn't already removed the person in charge of oversight of the relief package.
posted by Ghidorah at 2:10 AM on April 8 [3 favorites]

Thing is, there will come a day when the bastard isn't President. Having tht provision in law leaves room to at the very least claw back the (explicitly) ill gotten gains in the future.

Regardless, there is no doubt that a significant sum will make it into Trump's pocket since nobody is willing to do anything about the way he funnels campaign cash into his companies. The skill with which that has been done (in terms of making the paperwork look approximately correct and legal-ish) is pretty clear evidence that The Trump Organization has extensive experience in the field of money laundering.
posted by wierdo at 2:54 AM on April 8 [4 favorites]

Does Crozier still have access to healthcare/insurance via his Navy service?
posted by mediareport at 4:00 AM on April 8

Last I heard, Crozier is still in the Navy. In theory, he could stay in the Navy for quite some time. Commanding nothing larger than a desk, but still. Some relieved officers do exactly that. He will probably have some great options for jobs in the civilian world, when he chooses to leave the service. Or he could roll the dice, stay in the Navy for now, and find advancement in a Biden Administration next year (if we're so fortunate).

In terms of income and insurance, Crozier is fine for now and for the near to medium future. In better shape than a lot of us.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 4:27 AM on April 8 [4 favorites]

What astonishes me is how clumsily Crozier's keelhauling was handled.

For fun, in the next seven minutes, let's see if I can come up with a more politically astute way of how Thomas Modly could have handled the situation, supposing I were as cowardly and cruel as Thomas Modly seems to be in real life:
"Hey, did y'all see this Crozier memo that leaked to the press?"

[yessir, yessir, yessir]

"One of you apple blossoms needs to get Crozier on the line right now, along with everyone between me and him in his chain of command. Within the next four hours, Crozier is personally going to explain to his crew--and simultaneously to the press--that the Navy doesn't have just two states: "fighting" or "not-fighting". Crozier will instead explain that the dynamic nature of a global pandemic means the United States need to be able to project force at a moment's notice. Crozier will explain that sailors aboard a sick ship are serving their country as bravely as sailors aboard a ship at war. Crozier will make it sound heroic as hell to be coughed on by a midshipman while standing a full watch at anchor. Everyone in the chain of command over Crozier will work as a team to ensure his message is both clear and inspiring, both to people inside and outside the service. Send me a copy of his message so I can brief the President on it before Crozier delivers it."

[yessir, yessir, yessir]

"Warfighting isn't black-and-white. It's a shame that someone like Crozier could have made it so far in his career and still not understand nuance. I hold the people in this room responsible for his placement as Captain and his error in judgement. In 48 hours, you will give me your plan for what you are going to do to make sure this kind of thing never, ever happens again. This may or may not involve Crozier remaining as Captain: I leave that to your judgement. Whatever your solution is, before you hand it to me, imagine me explaining your plan to the President. If you give me a solution that the President won't like, that's not going to work for me. Are we clear?"

[yessir, yessir, yessir]
I mean, jeez. This is standard management tapdance stuff. Accept you have been outmaneuvered, make your people handle the PR problem, and send a "will no one rid me of this this turbulent priest?" message downwards so that someone else will fire the Captain without you getting your hands dirty.

It's clear Modly was under-qualified morally for his job, but if Modly couldn't hack a basic mealy-mouthed faux-decisive response like this, he was under-qualified politically as well.
posted by springo at 5:55 AM on April 8 [20 favorites]

...Crozier's keelhauling...

Most concise summation yet.
posted by cenoxo at 8:34 AM on April 8 [4 favorites]

Crozier could retire with a comfortable pension and medical coverage right now, so he's likely fine financially. He's just never going to be an admiral, which he was almost certainly slated for, given he made it to carrier captain, which is the most elite spot in the US Navy.
posted by tavella at 8:43 AM on April 8 [1 favorite]

Crozier could retire with a comfortable pension and medical coverage right now, so he's likely fine financially. He's just never going to be an admiral, which he was almost certainly slated for, given he made it to carrier captain, which is the most elite spot in the US Navy.

Which means, let's be clear, that the incompetence of the Trump administration in general and Modly in particular also deprived the United States of the potential services of a competent admiral who had the trust and respect of (in this case) his men. Which undermines our national security, no matter how much Trump hugs the flag.
posted by Gelatin at 9:05 AM on April 8 [18 favorites]

Modly never commanded people. He was a terrible choice for secretary of the Navy whose only qualification was being in a position to donate noticeable amounts of money to the Cheeto. This sort of thing was totally predictable not just for Trump's administration but all administrations which is why the system is set up with Senate oversight *hollow laugh*. I bet this sort of situation happens repeatedly in the next six months (if maybe not quite so publicly) as virus induced crisis piles on crisis and people whose only qualifications for dozens of jobs was ass kissing Trump, funneling money to his Crime Family and being a morally bankrupt person with a side order of corruption.

On top of that the whole Crozier situation could have been avoided if Trump wasn't a virus denier in the first place. A sane president would have taken steps to quarantine capital ships early and put measures in place to minimize the impact in general. It would have been a excellent relatively low stakes (in the sense that the US isn't currently at war with a seriously dangerous to the US nation state) live fire exercise for biological war.
posted by Mitheral at 9:13 AM on April 8 [5 favorites]

Trump picks 'acting' whomevers who are paperskinned, piss poor leaders, like he is himself. He hates competent people who accentuate his own blithering idiocy. Modly went to the carrier, to use the p.a. system, because he felt personally offended. "If I could offer you a glimpse of the level of hatred and pure evil that has been thrown my way, my family's way over this decision, I would,” Modly said. “But it doesn't matter. It's not about me. The former Vice President of the United States Joe Biden suggested just yesterday that my decision was criminal. I assure you that it was not."
posted by furtive_jackanapes at 10:12 AM on April 8 [2 favorites]

Exclusive: Coronavirus cleanup crews on infected Navy ship using T-shirts for masks [*], San Francisco Chronicle; Tal Kopan, Matthias Gafni, Joe Garofoli; 4/8/2020:
[Photos in article]

As the Navy races to contain a coronavirus outbreak on the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, sailors left onboard to maintain and disinfect the ship are doing so with minimal protective equipment, fashioning homemade masks out of T-shirts at the direction of the Pentagon. Some are working while they await test results, not knowing if they are spreading or catching the virus.

Multiple family members of sailors aboard the carrier confirmed to The Chronicle that their relatives were making face coverings of what they had on hand, including torn T-shirts. The Pentagon has ordered military members to cover their faces when they can’t maintain safe physical distance, but has not widely distributed masks or other personal protective equipment.

Roosevelt sailors were given latex gloves to use while cleaning the ship but little else, family members said. Sailors quarantined onshore in Guam also have little or no protective equipment, one Roosevelt crew member said. Many relatives said sailors deserved better from the government, for their sake and for national security....
One sailor told The Chronicle that conditions weren’t any better among sailors in a gymnasium serving as one of the initial group quarantine areas. None of the sailors have masks, the crew member said, and at night the sound of coughing is “like a cacophony of COVID.”

[*Alternate link]
posted by cenoxo at 6:52 AM on April 9 [5 favorites]

France's Only Aircraft Carrier Heads Home Due To COVID-19 Scare On Board – As for the U.S. Navy, four out of its five West Coast-based aircraft carriers now have confirmed cases among their crews.; The War Zone, Joseph Trevithick, 4/8/2020.
France's only aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle, is heading home amid concerns that around 40 sailors on board may have contracted the COVID-19 novel coronavirus. This comes a day after news broke that at least two members of the crew of the U.S. Navy's first-in-class USS Nimitz aircraft carrier had tested positive for the virus....
Other U.S. ships with cv-positive crew members include the USS Carl Vinson, USS Ronald Reagan, and USNS Comfort.

Russian and Dutch submarines also have CV cases.
posted by cenoxo at 7:20 AM on April 9

Does Crozier still have access to healthcare/insurance via his Navy service?

Yeah, the military actually has a lot of protections for servicemembers. Just cause for firing is one of them - if you have more than six years of service, if they want to boot you, you actually get to contest it. And even if they did somehow actually boot him out of the Navy, he would be eligible immediately for VA care, and since he acquired coronavirus in service, all treatment for it would be free. Don't worry about him on that score.
posted by corb at 8:31 AM on April 9 [4 favorites]

The U.S. Navy starts quarantining crews aboard ships two weeks before deployment; says USS Theodore Roosevelt will ‘fight sick’ in the Pacific if necessary:
COVID-19 Spreads To USS Nimitz; DoD Must ‘Operate In A COVID Environment’, Breaking Defense, Paul McCleary, 4/9/2020:

As COVID-19 continues to tear through the USS Teddy Roosevelt as it sits pierside in Guam, another big deck, the USS Nimitz, is seeing a “small number of breakouts,” Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. John Hyten confirmed today. The USS Nimitz, based in Bremerton, Wash., has already started bringing sailors aboard as part of a new Navy policy to have crew aboard for 14 days before deploying in an attempt to keep COVID-19 off ships at sea. Earlier this month, the USS Makin Island amphibious ready group deployed from San Diego early to head off possible infections.

“I think it is not a good idea to think that the [Theodore Roosevelt] is a one of a kind issue,” Hyten said. “To think that it will never happen again, is not a good way to plan.” The number of positive cases on the TR currently stands at 416, up from the 286 positive cases the Navy reported the day before. One infected sailor who had been transferred to a hotel room in Guam was found unresponsive today and was transferred to an intensive care unit.

Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist, appearing alongside Hyten, sent a veiled warning to China that the US stands ready to defend its interests in the Pacific even while the novel coronavirus may be sweeping the through the TR’s crew. “If there was a conflict that ship is capable of going into the fight,” Norquist said. Going forward, “we’re going to have to be able to operate in a COVID environment….there will need to be changes,” to how the force trains and prepares to deploy in the face of the global pandemic.
Nearly 2,000 US service members currently have the coronavirus according to new numbers released by the Pentagon today [Despite COVID-19, U.S. Military Remains Ready to Fight, U.S DOD, 4/9/2020].
posted by cenoxo at 3:36 AM on April 10

1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) Soldiers make protective masks, Fight COVID-19, DVIDS News, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA, United States, 04/2/2020:
...medical professionals and logisticians stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., manufactured personal protective equipment for routine care and protection against the COVID-19 pandemic, March 31, 2020.

As the threat of COVID-19 continues to permeate the region, 1st SFG (A) Soldiers adapt to develop solutions to combat the virus and protect the force within both the Special Operations and JBLM communities. The most recent adaptation is the production of personal protective equipment.

1st SFG (A), Group Support Battalion personnel used their resources and expertise to create prototypes for reusable respirator masks, face shields, and surgical masks for Madigan Army Medical Center and its regional partners...
If you can’t get them, DIY.
posted by cenoxo at 4:00 AM on April 10

If you can’t get them, DIY.

Where have I heard that before?
posted by rhizome at 11:07 AM on April 10

Navy, Pentagon Struggling with Lack of Reliable COVID-19 Testing, USNI News, Ben Werner, 4/10/2020:
When the Navy next deploys an aircraft carrier, the crew of USS Nimitz (CVN-68) will likely not be tested for COVID-19 before departing, top Pentagon officials confirmed Friday.

A lack of test kits and military testing technology prone to report false negatives means it’s unrealistic for the Navy to attempt testing everyone who boards a ship before deployment, said Thomas McCaffery, the assistant Secretary of Defense for health affairs, during a media briefing.

“You can’t be sure if you test negative that you don’t have the virus,” McCaffery said. “Right now there is a finite capability in terms of kits, the reagents and supplies you need, and so in that environment, we want to make sure we devote those finite resources at the highest priority, and that is to test those showing symptoms, who we need to immediately treat and immediately isolate.”

The entire military is facing the same COVID-19 threat and dealing with the same shortage of accurate tests....
WRT ‘fighting sick’, i.e. the USS Theodore Roosevelt, Nimitz, and other ships, the lack of reliable testing increases the risks of deploying an otherwise operational ship with infected, asymptomatic sailors and flight crews aboard (as noted in the previous article).

If a contagious crew member doesn't show any symptoms, they won’t be tested before boarding ship. Thus, they may not be detected - even during the pre-deployment quarantine period – before they expose themselves to dozens/hundreds of other crew. After deployment, the ship’s medical staff may not have any warning before a sudden, possibly uncontrollable outbreak occurs:
“What we’ve learned, certainly in the Navy, is that with regard to COVID 19, we’re learning that stealth in the form of asymptomatic transmission is this adversary’s secret power,” said Rear Adm. Bruce Gillingham, the surgeon general of the Navy, during the briefing. “We recognize despite really our best efforts we’re going to have to learn how to operate with the virus.”
You go to war with the resources (and infections) you have.
posted by cenoxo at 2:17 AM on April 11

Exclusive: First Public Map Reveals Military Bases with Coronavirus Cases as Pentagon Secrecy Draws Backlash; Newsweek, William M. Arkin 4/9/20:
First public map of the more than 100 U.S. military bases in 41 states with coronavirus cases.
Map by Bill Morris; Base data by Natural Earth

[More t]han 150 military bases in 41 states have been hit with coronavirus, according to new information exclusively obtained by Newsweek. The Pentagon on Tuesday also said that the armed forces had surpassed 3,000 cases, more than doubling their number of people tested positive for coronavirus in less than a week's time. The scope of geographic spread among the military in the United States mirrors the civilian world and also shows few signs of abating.

The continued spread of coronavirus throughout the military, both in the United States and at overseas bases, has halted all non-essential movement, interrupted recruiting and basic training, and led to a virtual standstill in large scale activity. It has also led to draconian secrecy, justified as necessary to preserve operational security. But that policy of secrecy is now getting strong pushback, both from the communities around military bases as well as from lawmakers.

The latest Defense Department data show that 2,120 men and women in uniform have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. The hardest hit service is the U.S. Navy, followed closely by the Army, Air Force, and finally the Marine Corps. Civilians working for the department make up the second largest overall group after those in uniform, followed by military dependents, and then by private contractors working at military facilities.
See full list of affected U.S. military bases (by state) here.

[More details in the article.]
"Navy leadership initially made the tough choice of mission readiness over sailor safety," a retired Navy admiral said in an email to Newsweek, "because we all underestimated the seriousness of the virus and the rate of spread. In hindsight though, greater transparency would have communicated to leadership how bad the situation was, also that extreme measures needed to be taken."
posted by cenoxo at 8:36 AM on April 11 [1 favorite]

"Navy leadership initially made the tough choice of mission readiness over sailor safety"

What is so god awful important about strutting these aircraft carriers all over the world? Why not just bring them home?
posted by JackFlash at 8:43 AM on April 11

A very complicated, controversial topic that might be better discussed in a separate thread. Here's a brief summary from Forbes, Loren Thompson, 3/23/2018: What The U.S. Navy's Supercarriers Give America That No Other Nation Has.

[Alternate link]
posted by cenoxo at 9:16 AM on April 11

One-Third of the DoD’s Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients Are in the ICU,, Patricia Kime, 4/10/2020:
Of the 146 patients hospitalized in U.S. military medical centers for the novel coronavirus, one-third are in intensive care units, including a sailor from the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt who remains at U.S. Naval Hospital Guam.

According to Defense Health Agency officials, 47 of the Defense Department's 3,054 current cases of the novel virus are in ICUs [*]. The agency declined to provide detailed information on whether the patients are on ventilators and whether they are active-duty troops, dependents or DoD employees or contractors.

The DoD releases a summary of its COVID-19 response Monday through Friday, along with the number of cases among its patient population. But it has released little information on the severity of these cases, other than saying that most are "mild or moderate."[*]
[Additional U.S. military statistics in the article.]
*One curious thing is that "...the 33% ICU admission rate for the hospitalized DoD population is higher than even the upper range of admissions across the U.S....".
posted by cenoxo at 3:23 PM on April 11

'Nothing Off the Table': Pentagon Won't Rule Out Reinstating Fired Navy Captain,, Gina Harkins, 4/10/2020:
The top Navy officer and defense secretary have the same message when it comes to Capt. Brett Crozier being reassigned to the job from which he was removed last week.

"We've taken nothing off the table." That's what Defense Secretary Mark Esper told CBS News on Friday morning. On Thursday, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday also said he's open to reinstating Crozier as the commanding officer of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt.

"I am taking no options off the table," Gilday told The Associated Press. The CNO hasn't spoken to Crozier, the outlet reported, and isn't facing pressure from anyone about the investigation. Gilday "just wants to make sure his actions are fair," according to the AP.
Pretty big table, an aircraft carrier.
posted by cenoxo at 10:29 PM on April 11

The reported hospitalization rate for the military population with COVID-19 is 4.3 percent. By contrast, in New York City, where 80,204 have confirmed cases of the coronavirus, nearly 26% required hospitalization.

I suspect this is also because the nature of the military is such that you can get very good care without hospitalization. For example, if you are sick enough that you can’t cook your own food, some of your buddies in the barracks will drop a chow hall to-go box in front of your door. If you’re sick enough to need deep rest, a doctor will give you quarters, while you still get paid - so you don’t have people over working themselves until they drop.
posted by corb at 9:37 AM on April 12 [5 favorites]

I just now figured out that Captian Crozier is also the pivotal character in The Terror.
posted by freecellwizard at 9:49 AM on April 12 [3 favorites]

The reported hospitalization rate for the military population with COVID-19 is 4.3 percent. By contrast, in New York City, where 80,204 have confirmed cases of the coronavirus, nearly 26% required hospitalization.

Some of this is surely down to the fact that active-duty military are, to a disproportionate degree, young people in good health, while a random selection of New Yorkers would be of all ages and all health conditions, some of which would significantly increase the risk of serious consequences from COVID-19 infection.

A statistical classic, Nagel and Cohen's An Introduction To Logic And Scientific Method made this point with a near-identical example of incomparable populations the better part of a century ago:
There is always a danger from an unwitting selection of material in comparing different groups. A recruiting sergeant will convince most people with the following argument. The death rate in the United States Navy during the Spanish-American War was 9 per 1,000, while the death rate in New York City for the same period was 16 per 1,000, it is therefore safer to be a sailor in the navy during a war than a civilian in New York City. But an examination of the evidence for this conclusion soon shows that the two death rates have not the significance which they appear to have. For the New York City death rate includes the mortality of infants, old people, people in hospitals and asylums; and it is well known that the death rate for the very old and the very young, as well as for the sick, is relatively high. On the other hand, the navy is composed of men between the ages of 18 and 35, each of whom had been judged fit in a rigorous physical examination. It follows that the two death rates do not warrant the conclusion that the navy is a safer place than New York City. Adequate evidence for such a conclusion would require the comparison of two groups which are homogeneous with respect to age, sex, and health.
posted by jackbishop at 2:26 PM on April 12 [5 favorites]

jackbishop, any thoughts on my comment above?

*One curious thing is that "...the 33% ICU admission rate for the hospitalized DoD population is higher than even the upper range of admissions across the U.S....".

Wouldn't you generally expect that fewer younger, healthier males would end up in ICU?
posted by cenoxo at 6:40 PM on April 12

Almost 600 Sailors on Carrier Roosevelt Have Tested Positive for COVID-19, USNI News, Sam LaGrone, 4/12/2020:
More than one out of ten sailors assigned to USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) have tested positive for COVID-19 as the Navy continues to isolate the infected sailors from the rest of the crew.

The service has tested 92 percent of the sailors assigned to Roosevelt and discovered 585 positive cases of the virus. 3,724 sailors have tested negative since the carrier pulled into Guam last month, the Navy announced Sunday. In total 3,967 sailors have been moved to shore on Guam and are all in various stages of a 14-day isolation period in hotels and spare rooms across the island.

Two Roosevelt sailors have been hospitalized, one briefly in the intensive care unit, from complications from the virus, a Navy official told USNI on Sunday afternoon. Infections on Roosevelt account for 65 percent of the Navy’s 890 active duty COVID-19 cases.
The outbreak on Roosevelt has been a warning for the service on how quickly the virus can tear through the close quarters of a U.S. warship. On any given hull, sailors often work elbow to elbow and up to 40 sleep in berthing spaces with bunks stack three to four high making social distancing measures largely impossible....
posted by cenoxo at 7:27 PM on April 12 [1 favorite]

Wouldn't you generally expect that fewer younger, healthier males would end up in ICU?

Well, I'm not actually a statistician, so I may be a little outside my wheelhouse here, but as a proportion of the tested population, fewer are. There are three quantities here for each population: the number of confirmed cases (call it x), the number of hospitalizations (y), and the number of ICU cases (z). y/x is much smaller for the military than the New York population, but z/y is significantly larger. Why? Because that's about what you'd expect if y is much smaller in the military and z isn't. I venture that z/x is still smaller for the military than for NYC: the numbers I've found suggest about 7% off all NYC cases involve the ICU, vs. 1.4% for the military.

Broadly, although there's a wide variety of ways this virus seems to affect people, it seems you can parcel them into three groups: those who tough it out without inpatient medical care, those who receive a heightened level of medical attention because of the risk of danger but manage to never really end up in an acute crisis, and those who do need critical care. The second group is a lot bigger in the general public than the military: if you're in a high-risk group, they're less likely to send you home to self-quarantine. The third group is also probably bigger in the public but not by enough: even younger people in generally good health face real danger.
posted by jackbishop at 8:03 PM on April 12 [1 favorite]

How Donald Trump Ruined the Navy – The bungled response to a coronavirus outbreak on an aircraft carrier reveals a deeper crisis among the president's obsequious military appointees., The New Republic, Jason Dempsey, 4/13/2020:
... As the number of infected sailors among the Roosevelt’s crew rose this weekend past 550, a majority of the blame for the saga’s most ridiculous moments continues to fall on Modly. But this crisis was ultimately not of his own making. He merely brought to light the deepening dysfunction within the Department of Defense brought about by collapsing norms of civil-military relations.

This collapse has been driven by President Trump, who has demonstrated repeatedly that he has no compunctions about subverting the military chain of command, often via tweet, in pursuit of overtly political goals, from his ban on transgender service members and Syria withdrawal to his clemency for convicted and accused war criminals who now support his reelection campaign. This tendency has unfortunately been enabled by a string of Pentagon appointees who may have once thought that they could defend the nation while keeping an impetuous president in check, but have only enabled Trump to further disrupt and degrade the armed forces....
Fools rush in where civilians fear to tread.
posted by cenoxo at 6:21 AM on April 13 [2 favorites]

At long last, swarms of alien invaders from outer inner space have arrived to threaten humanity's very existence. Can we stop fighting each other long enough to defeat them?

There are some glimmers of hope: World's Militaries Face a New Enemy in Virus Outbreak,, Tia Goldenberg & Isabel DeBre (AP), 4/13/2020.
posted by cenoxo at 10:31 AM on April 13

> *One curious thing is that "...the 33% ICU admission rate for the hospitalized DoD population is higher than even the upper range of admissions across the U.S....".

Wouldn't you generally expect that fewer younger, healthier males would end up in ICU?

Firstly, they're not all necessarily males. ;) Secondly, my main point is that solidiers are simply not able to just die at home, possibly of a heart attack and at any rate without being tested. There's also a lack of health insurance coverage keeping people out of the ER, and you can't be admitted to the ICU if you never make it to the hospital.
posted by rhizome at 11:02 AM on April 13 [1 favorite]

US sailor from virus-hit carrier dies of COVID-19 complications. The death marks the first coronavirus fatality from the aircraft carrier which reportedly has 900 positive cases.
posted by furtive_jackanapes at 12:57 PM on April 13 [2 favorites]

Navy Cancels Carrier Homecoming Plans Amid Coronavirus Pandemic,, Gina Harkins, 4/13/2020:
Thousands of sailors who were scheduled to head back to the East Coast after deploying to the Middle East will remain at sea while another carrier is sidelined in the Pacific -- and there's no clear end date for their mission.

Family members of sailors assigned to the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group won't get a homecoming as soon as planned. The aircraft carrier and its escort ships will remain at sea as the Navy fights to stay ready to respond to potential crises worldwide during a global pandemic.

Vice Adm. Andrew Lewis, the head of 2nd Fleet, said the crew would typically remain on alert pierside, where sailors could be close to home. But the coronavirus pandemic -- and the way the illness has ripped through another ship's crew -- makes keeping them at sea a safer option.
posted by cenoxo at 9:30 PM on April 13

China sends aircraft carrier near Japan, Taiwan as Navy struggles with coronavirus, Stars & Stripes, Caitlin Doornbos, 4/13/2020:
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Japan and Taiwan kept watch on the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning [WP] and its strike group as they steamed through the Miyako Strait and past Taiwan over the weekend, according to the Japanese Ministry of Defense and published reports Monday.

The Liaoning and five accompanying warships passed through the 155-mile-wide strait halfway between the Japanese islands of Okinawa and Miyako on Saturday, turned south and passed east of Taiwan on Sunday, according to reports. The strait is wide enough to qualify as an international waterway.

The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force tracked the Chinese aircraft carrier, two guided missile destroyers, two multi-role warships and one supply-class fast combat support ship as they passed 262 miles southwest of Nagasaki’s Danjo Islands about 7 p.m. Friday, according to a defense ministry Joint Staff official....
posted by cenoxo at 1:33 AM on April 14 [1 favorite]

Navy struggling to slow outbreak on USNS Mercy as 7 sailors test positive, Navy Times, J.D. Simkins, 4/14/2020:
A total of seven sailors aboard the hospital ship USNS Mercy [WP] have contracted COVID-19 and been removed from the ship as the remaining crew scrambles to stifle a full-blown outbreak. Navy officials would not specify where the sailors have been moved, but confirmed the crew members in close proximity to the infected sailors have since tested negative. Treatment of patients onboard Mercy, which arrived in Los Angeles on March 27, will continue as planned, officials said.

The surge in confirmed cases, meanwhile, has increased concern among sailors and family members who were already skeptical about the crew’s screening process prior to embarking on Mercy or Comfort [WP], the second of the Navy’s two mobilized hospital ships which is currently treating patients in the New York City harbor.

Navy officials previously confirmed the screening process, one instituted in accordance to CDC guidance, consists only of a temperature check and “a series of questions addressing [the] member’s recent health and contact history.”...
posted by cenoxo at 6:03 PM on April 14

Air Force Testing Ability to Mass-Evacuate COVID Patients Without Getting Crews Sick,, Oriana Pawlyk, 4/15/2020. The U.S. Air Force is preparing for possible mass evacuations of coronavirus-infected patients by testing whether it can transport dozens of people onboard its aircraft without first isolating them in containment capsules:
Earlier this month, Air Mobility Command [home], in tandem with researchers from the National Strategic Research Institute at the University of Nebraska and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, conducted weeklong airflow experiments on six different aircraft. The goal was to analyze how air travels through a cargo hold using specialized, traceable droplets, said Maj. Dave Sustello, AMC's Test and Evaluation Squadron operations officer.

Organized by the 155th Air Refueling Wing at the Nebraska Air National Guard base, crews studied particle flow on the KC-135 Stratotanker, C-17 Globemaster III and C-130J Hercules aircraft, followed by tests on the KC-46 Pegasus, KC-10 Extender and C-5M Super Galaxy [USAF] aircraft, which all have the capacity to transport multiple passengers, he said.

The goal is to understand if patients could be moved safely without using the Transport Isolation System, or TIS [related]. Earlier this month, aircrew and medical personnel used the TIS for the first time since the Ebola outbreak to carry three U.S. government contractors who tested positive for coronavirus on board a C-17 from Afghanistan to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. The TIS, however, can only carry two to four patients within the airlocked unit. The TIS "is a very conservative system," Sustello said. The Air Force has 13 fully configured mission-ready TIS units.

"We're looking at more of an open-air approach [where we] can take a lot more passengers that are possibly infected or definitely infected and move them to where they need to get care while still minimizing the risks to the crew." ... "We need to figure out how we're going to get a mass amount of patients or COVID-19 positive personnel to where they need to get the best care," he said....
More details in the article. Exactly why (and where) such large evacuations might be needed is not explained.
posted by cenoxo at 6:00 PM on April 15

[Previously 4/9/2020.]

France reports nearly 700 COVID-19 cases aboard its lone aircraft carrier, Reuters Staff 4/15/2020:
PARIS (Reuters) - Nearly 700 sailors assigned to the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle's naval group have tested positive for the coronavirus, the armed forces ministry said on Wednesday.

The ministry said 1,767 mariners, nearly all from the Charles de Gaulle itself, had been tested and results showed at least 668 to be infected with the new coronavirus. Results are still not in from a third of the tests. "Thirty one personnel are today in hospital," it said in a statement. "More tests are being carried out."

...Crew from the Charles de Gaulle and the frigate Chevalier Paul were now in confinement within their naval base, while the pilots of the carrier's warplanes and helicopters were also in quarantine...
posted by cenoxo at 6:37 PM on April 15

Just Boeing's Manuals For New Air Force One Jets Cost A Whopping $84 Million — Nothing is cheap in aviation and especially when it comes to flying the President, but an F-35's worth of manuals is amazing to comprehend., The War Zone, Tyler Rogoway, 4/15/2020:
Everything military aviation is really expensive. That's also an unfortunate fact. Everything military aviation related to flying the President is absolutely absurdly expensive. Another inconvenient fact. Yet it's hard to swallow the price tag on the contract Boeing was just awarded by the Air Force for manuals for two new VC-25B Air Force One jets it is currently converting from orphaned 747-8i airframes. That price tag? A cool $84,000,000.
It is hard to really get one's head around the fiscal scale of the Air Force One recapitalization program. the program's total price tag, including things like new hangars and other ancillary items, comes in at $5.3B. The aircraft themselves will cost $4.7B, making them the most expensive planes ever made. This runs counter to the claims by President Trump that he personally slashed the cost of the jets. You can read more about this cost breakdown here....
Nothing is too good for the Emperor Donald.
posted by cenoxo at 12:23 AM on April 16

I'd like to dunk on this administration as much as anyone but a 1.8% charge for documentation on a $4.7 billion custom high security project seems pretty reasonable. It's not like the cost of the plane is tied up in exotic materials like a SR-71 or gold fixtures like anything bought by The Cheeto or something, it's all hyper complicated systems that have to continue working after a nuclear exchange.
posted by Mitheral at 12:54 AM on April 16

Yeah, that sounds expensive, but how much are the competition charging for their manuals?

Whuh? No, seriously. At these prices somebody else has to be bidding for these contracts, no?

posted by Anoplura at 12:57 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]

Russian jet buzzes Navy P-8 Poseidon within 25 feet, intercept lasts 42 minutes, Navy Times, J.D. Simkins, 4/15/2020:
A U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon [WP] surveillance aircraft was flying in international airspace over the Mediterranean sea Wednesday when it was intercepted by a Russian SU-35 [WP], Navy officials said. The Russian fighter jet reportedly conducted a high-speed inverted maneuver in front of the Poseidon, coming as close as 25 feet from the nose of the U.S. aircraft.

The maneuver “put our pilots and crew at risk,” a statement from U.S. 6th Fleet said. “The crew of the P-8A reported wake turbulence following the interaction. The duration of the intercept was approximately 42 minutes.”
posted by cenoxo at 5:37 AM on April 16

it's all hyper complicated systems that have to continue working after a nuclear exchange.

For a brief period, since it appears they're removing the in-flight refueling capability. I guess they have plans on landing in 12 hours or something...
posted by mikelieman at 8:10 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]

From the DuffelBlog, which is like the military version of the Onion, Pentagon Worries Capt Crozier's Concern For His Sailors May Be Contagious
Pentagon officials have expressed concern in recent days that the former commander of the USS Theodore Roosevelt may have infected other commanders with a desire to place the well-being of their troops over loyalty to senior leadership, sources confirmed Friday.

“The seriousness of this cannot be overstated,” said Col. Vance Kushner, a Pentagon spokesman. “This isn’t like some kind of virus threatening the health and well-being of our soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen. This is much worse. This makes us sitting here in the Pentagon look like out-of-touch asses.”
posted by corb at 8:25 AM on April 16 [4 favorites]

AF1 has never been the primary nuclear war Presidential transport. Even if it was, the chance of such an exchange still being in progress after 12+ hours is essentially zero. Once one party launches, unless maybe it's a single missile, the other will not wait to retaliate.

As dark as it sounds, for the whole edifice to do what it is intended to do, the President need only survive long enough to tell the submarines to please commence with taking everyone's balls and going home. Or more accurately, the systems in place must convince potential adversaries that the chance of avoiding that outcome is very small. Beyond that, it literally doesn't matter.
posted by wierdo at 8:27 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]

Say hello to the bigger & badder, post-apocalyptic, nuclear-war-mutated CoronaVirus.*

(*As imagined in artist Sebastian Wien's welded steel scupture "Here And Now" in Dortmund, Germany.)
posted by cenoxo at 9:07 AM on April 16

How an outbreak on the USS Roosevelt became a defining moment for the US military, Washington Post (via; Dan Lamothe, Shawn Boburg, Paul Sonne; 4/16/2020:
PHOTO: U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink, center, Adm. John C. Aquilino, right, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, Rear Adm. Stu Baker, center-left, commander of Carrier Strike Group Nine, and Capt. Brett Crozier, commanding officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, arrive in Da Nang, Vietnam, on March 5, 2020. Nicholas V. Huynh, U.S. Navy

As a coronavirus outbreak swept through a U.S. aircraft carrier crippled off the coast of Guam, the ship's commander tapped out an email urging senior Navy leaders to evacuate most of the 4,800 sailors onboard.

Capt. Brett Crozier opened his March 30 message to three admirals by saying he would "gladly" follow them "into battle whenever needed." But he shifted to his concern that the Navy was not doing enough to stop the spread of the virus, and acknowledged being a part of the sluggish response.

"I fully realize that I bear responsibility for not demanding more decisive action the moment we pulled in, but at this point my only priority is the continued well-being of the crew and embarked staff," Crozier wrote in previously unreported comments obtained by The Washington Post. "... I believe if there is ever a time to ask for help it is now regardless of the impact on my career."

The email, copied to a handful of Navy captains, is at the heart of a crisis that erupted into public view after a four-page memo attached to it was published in the news media....
More background details on Capt. Crozier's letter in the article.
posted by cenoxo at 6:21 PM on April 16

Exclusive: As Washington DC Faces Coronavirus Spike, Secret Military Task Force Prepares To Secure The Capital, Newsweek, William M. Arkin, 4/16/20:
District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser yesterday ordered a one-month extension of the state of emergency, as cases in the region grow at a rapid pace. Federal officials in the nation's capital expect a New York-like epidemic in the District, Maryland and Virginia, one that could potentially cripple the government.

"No one wants to talk evacuation, especially when there's nowhere to go," says a senior military officer working on continuity of government planning; he requested anonymity because he is not authorized to speak on the record. But a little-known military task force charged with evacuating Washington has already been activated ... charged with the most sensitive government mission of "securing" Washington in the face of attackers, foreign and domestic—and if necessary, moving White House and other key government offices to alternate locations.

Activated on March 16, Joint Task Force National Capital Region (JTF-NCR) [U.S. Army link] is chartered to "defend" Washington on land, in the air, and even on its waterfronts. The special task force, the only one of its kind in the country, demonstrates how there are two sides of government preparedness ... The Pentagon has also rejected reports, including articles in Newsweek, about martial law or other extreme contingency plans, arguing that the Guard remains under strict control of state governors, while federal troops support civil agencies like FEMA.

And yet the activation of [JTF-NCR], including almost 10,000 uniformed personnel to carry out its special orders, contradicts those assurances. JTF-NCR is not only real and operating, reporting directly to the Secretary of Defense for some of its mission, but some of its units are already on 24/7 alert, specially sequestered on military bases and kept out of coronavirus support duties to ensure their readiness....
More details in the article.
posted by cenoxo at 4:34 AM on April 17 [1 favorite]

I'd like to dunk on this administration as much as anyone but a 1.8% charge for documentation on a $4.7 billion custom high security project seems pretty reasonable.

1.8% here, 1.8% there, and pretty soon you're talking about real money.
posted by rhizome at 9:28 AM on April 17

Speaking only in regards to my industry (electrical construction): companies would wet themselves with joy if they managed to only spend 2% of the time on just the redlines/as builts. WAG: Usage documentation on anything remotely complicated probably runs another 1-2% on our projects.
posted by Mitheral at 10:54 AM on April 17 [1 favorite]

$84 million and let's say labor billed at $84 per hour to make things easy. That's 1 million hours, or 500 person years.
posted by JackFlash at 11:53 AM on April 17

CDC Wants to Know if Some Sailors on Stricken Carrier Developed Coronavirus Immunity,, Oriana Pawlyk, 4/18/2020
The Navy and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will begin a voluntary testing of 1,000 sailors onboard the virus-stricken carrier Theodore Roosevelt over the next week to collect data that could give leaders a better understanding of how the virus affects populations in close quarters, officials said Friday.

Rear Adm. Bruce Gillingham, Surgeon General and Chief of Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, told reporters that medical personnel will take a swab sample and blood tests for sailors on the carrier, which remains docked in Guam amid the coronavirus outbreak which has affected nearly 600 sailors on board the ship; a sailor who was moved to an intensive care unit in Guam earlier this month died this week from the disease.

Sailors will be asked to fill out a survey which they disclose their age, other physical details and any potential preexisting conditions to determine which sailors may be most vulnerable to the disease, added Capt. Robert Hawkins, commander of the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center. Hawkins briefed alongside Gillingham and Dr. Dan Payne, epidemiologist for the CDC....
posted by cenoxo at 10:01 AM on April 18

France Finds More Than 1,000 Virus Cases on Aircraft Carrier, (AP); Jeffrey Schaeffer & Elaine Ganley, 4/18/2020:
PARIS (AP) — The French navy is investigating how the coronavirus infected more than 1,000 sailors aboard the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle [WP], amid growing pressure on government leaders to explain how it could have happened. The ship, France's biggest carrier and the flagship of its navy, is undergoing a lengthy disinfection process since returning to its home base in Toulon five days ago.

One person remains in intensive care and some 20 others hospitalized, navy spokesman Cmdr. Eric Lavault told The Associated Press. Two of four U.S. sailors serving aboard the Charles de Gaulle as part of an exchange program also tested positive, according to a U.S. Navy statement. A British sailor was aboard another vessel, Lavault said, refusing to reveal the sailor’s health status.

Lavault insisted that the aircraft carrier's commander sought to increase the physical distance among the crew on the vessel, where there was no testing equipment and for most of its three months on operations, no masks. It is “very difficult to apply social distancing measures … on a combat vessel,” Lavault said. But “security of the crew is the first concern. A combat ship, especially an aircraft carrier, is nothing without its crew.”
Defense Minister Florence Parly told lawmakers that 1,081 of the 2,300 people aboard the Charles de Gaulle and its escort vessels have tested positive so far — nearly half the overall personnel.
posted by cenoxo at 1:58 AM on April 19

The Theodore Roosevelt episode was no isolated incident, but a portent of worse to come, Military Times Commentary, Andrew Milburn*, 4/18/2020:
...As several commentators have recently observed, the norms of civil military relations have over the last three years have steadily been eroded. When norms are continuously violated without anyone making a stand to defend them, they simply cease to be norms — the exceptions accrete into a new rule. That should be of concern, not just to the US military which has always prided itself on being apolitical, but to the country as a whole, whose democratic values depend in part on a healthy relationship between the military and its civilian leadership.

Imagine a military in which senior ranks are awarded according to political affiliation, in which political proselytization of subordinates becomes commonplace, and in which displays of political allegiance become a regular fixture of professional events. These scenarios may appear to be somewhat far-fetched, but senior uniformed leadership has already tacitly accepted the first steps down the road to a military in which this kind of behavior is the new norm.

From the beginning of this administration, it became clear that this president didn’t necessarily understand or respect the terms of the implicit contract, grounded largely on Harvard scholar Samuel Huntington’s 1957 classic The Soldier and the State, that has, throughout successive administrations, helped maintain what has been mostly a well-balanced civil military relationship, based on mutual respect and trust....
*Andrew Milburn retired in March 2019 as the Chief of Staff at Special Operations Command Central [WP]. Over a 31-year career he commanded Marine and Special Operations forces in combat at every rank. He is the author of When the Tempest Gathers: From Mogadishu to the fight against ISIS, a Marine Special Operations Commander at war.

See also: When Not to Obey Orders, Andrew R. Milburn, War On The Rocks, 7/8/2019.
posted by cenoxo at 3:36 AM on April 19 [4 favorites]

I have been reading the Military Times for a long while, mostly in uniform. The fact that they are now publishing op-eds saying it’s your duty to speak out and suggesting the president is acting in a totalitarian manner is genuinely shocking. Good, but holy shit I would not have imagined this published in the Military Times, which goes out to every post in the nation and overseas.
posted by corb at 7:22 AM on April 20 [14 favorites]

French carrier surpasses Theodore Roosevelt with over 1,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, Navy Times, J.D. Simkins, 4/20/2020:
Recent reports out of France say that more than 1,000 sailors aboard the country’s aircraft carrier, Charles de Gaulle, have tested positive for COVID-19, a number that could continue to surge as the crew awaits approximately 930 more test results.

The outbreak onboard the French navy’s flagship forced leadership to call off the remaining two weeks of the carrier’s scheduled deployment to the North Atlantic. The ship, which carries a crew of nearly 1,800, pulled into port last week at Toulon Naval Base in southern France.

In all, 1,081 crew members from the Charles de Gaulle naval group have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. That total comes almost entirely from the carrier, and includes at least two U.S. sailors who were assigned to the ship as part of the U.S. Navy’s Personnel Exchange Program.
Unlike the U.S. Navy, which touts 10 other active carriers in addition to the coronavirus-stricken Theodore Roosevelt, losing the Charles de Gaulle for an extended period could cripple France’s nuclear deterrence capabilities, the Times report said.
All with the potential of becoming floating hotspots at any time, at sea or in port, from just one infected crew member. Huge ships bearing the description “carrier” could not come at a worse time.
posted by cenoxo at 6:47 AM on April 21 [1 favorite]

losing the Charles de Gaulle for an extended period could cripple France’s nuclear deterrence capabilities

People worry about that?
posted by JackFlash at 7:40 AM on April 21 [2 favorites]

The French certainly do — they have over 300 operational nuclear warheads: France and weapons of mass destruction (WP - links & footnotes in the article):
France is one of the five "Nuclear Weapons States" under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, but is not known to possess or develop any chemical or biological weapons.[4][5] France was the fourth country to test an independently developed nuclear weapon in 1960, under the government of Charles de Gaulle. The French military is currently thought to retain a weapons stockpile of around 300[6] operational (deployed) nuclear warheads, making it the third-largest in the world, speaking in terms of warheads, not megatons.[7] The weapons are part of the national Force de frappe, developed in the late 1950s and 1960s to give France the ability to distance itself from NATO while having a means of nuclear deterrence under sovereign control....
posted by cenoxo at 7:56 AM on April 21

...but the idea that losing access to the few warheads deliverable by seaborne aircraft would "cripple" the deterrent force so long as their ssbns are on patrol is just silly
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 8:13 AM on April 21 [1 favorite]

posted by rhizome at 1:53 PM on April 21


est le pied une direction?
posted by jclarkin at 2:00 PM on April 21

so long as their ssbns are on patrol

We don't know the coronavirus status of those.
posted by ctmf at 7:14 PM on April 21 [2 favorites]

COVID-19 Situation Report: The latest coronavirus updates from the US military; Task & Purpose, Paul Szoldra, 4/21/2020:
  • ...the DoD has 4,070 current cases of COVID-19. Cumulatively, it has had 5,575 cases across the military, with the Navy reporting more than 1,200.
  • Nearly 1,500 people have recovered from the disease; 22 have died.
  • ...
More details (going back to March 27, 2020) in the article.
posted by cenoxo at 6:48 AM on April 22 [1 favorite]

First you have to know where the US military are.
Trump administration challenged to reveal troops levels in war zones
posted by adamvasco at 7:33 AM on April 22

For want of an aircraft carrier, USS America Now Steaming Near South China Sea Standoff, USNI News, Dzirhan Mahadzir, 4/20/2020:
PHOTO: A CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter assigned to 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 265 takes off from the flight deck of amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA-6) on April 18, 2020. US Navy Photo

KUALA LUMPUR — USS America (LHA-6) is steaming towards waters in the South China Sea where a Chinese government survey ship and its China Coast Guard escorts are in an international maritime dispute with Malaysia.

As of Saturday, America was operating with at least five Marine F-35B Lightning II fighters as well as MV-22Bs tiltrotors and CH-53 helicopters as part of the typical Marine air combat element configuration aboard the amphibious warship. With the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) temporarily sidelined in Guam, America is currently the most significant operational naval asset the U.S Navy has in the region as China flexes its maritime presence.

The Chinese are operating in disputed waters about 200 nautical miles off the coast of East Malaysia that are claimed by Malaysia, Vietnam and China. The region is believed to be mineral-rich and has been an active area of contention since the drillship West Capella, under contract to Malaysia’s state oil company, Petronas, began exploration activities in October....
More about the USS America (LHA-6).
posted by cenoxo at 9:43 AM on April 22

Land, sea, and air-based nuclear components of France's "Force de dissuasion" (deterrent force), aka "Force de frappe".

Why was it created? (links/footnotes in the WP article):

The decision to arm France with nuclear weapons was made in 1954 by the administration of Pierre Mendès-France under the Fourth Republic.[3] President Charles de Gaulle, upon his return to power in 1958, solidified the initial vision into the well-defined concept of a fully independent Force de Frappe capable of protecting France from a Soviet or other foreign attack, independent of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which President de Gaulle considered to be dominated by the United States to an unacceptable degree.

In particular, France was concerned that in the event of a Soviet invasion of Western Europe, the US—already bogged down in the War in Vietnam and afraid of Soviet retaliation against the United States proper—would not come to the aid of its Allies in Western Europe. According to de Gaulle, France should never trust its defense and therefore its very existence to a foreign and thus unreliable protector.[1]...
Between Russia and today's untrustworthy Trump administration, it seems France called the post-WWII toss pretty well: France First!
posted by cenoxo at 3:21 PM on April 22 [2 favorites]

Blue Angels And Thunderbirds' Secretive Plan To Soar Together Over American Cities Confirmed (Updated) — Operation America Strong will see the jets, as well as other aircraft, fly over multiple cities to promote "national unity."; The War Zone; Joseph Trevithick, 4/22/2020.
posted by cenoxo at 10:52 PM on April 22

Yeah, nice little tease to get people to start hanging out close to each other. Bastards.
posted by rhizome at 11:16 PM on April 22

99% USS Theodore Roosevelt sailors tested, positive cases up to 777; Pacific Daily News/USA TODAY Network, 4/23/2020:
As of Thursday, 99% of the USS Theodore Roosevelt's crew has been tested and positive tests are up to 777, the Navy reported.

The Navy reported 3,919 negative results from the aircraft carrier's testing. Of the 777 positive, 63 have recovered. Additionally, 4,196 sailors moved ashore onto Naval Base Guam to isolate and into hotels in Tamuning and Tumon to quarantine....
Governor: USS Theodore Roosevelt sailors here for one more week; Pacific Daily News/USA TODAY Network; 4/22/2020:
The crew of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, who are isolating and quarantined on Guam, are expected to be here for at least another week, according to the governor. “Adm. (John) Menoni did tell me this morning that he had hoped that they would have everyone backfilled into the vessel by this weekend,” Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero said at a press conference Wednesday.

“But the military, the Navy, is wanting to keep them for one more week. This is just to make sure that they go beyond the 14 days quarantine, which is the life cycle of the virus, but to go one more week,” Leon Guerrero said. “Because what they want is to make sure that when they do set out to sea they won’t have any incidences of coronavirus.”

The carrier's been docked in Guam since March 27 and the Department of Defense arranged for almost all of the crew to be tested. Some sailors were tested more than once....
Sailors keep testing positive on aircraft carrier, despite 2-week isolation — The move potentially delays the ship’s departure amid new questions about the spread of Covid-19.; Politico, Lara Seligman, 4/21/2020:
The Navy is delaying plans to begin moving sailors back onboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt after crew members continued to test positive for the coronavirus after isolation, according to Navy officials.

Navy leadership is temporarily halting post-quarantine testing and is extending sailors' isolation more than three weeks after the Roosevelt was forced to dock in Guam on March 27, according to a memo viewed by POLITICO. The move potentially delays the ship’s departure amid new questions about the spread of Covid-19.

Navy leadership took the steps after a number of sailors tested positive for the novel coronavirus even after their 14-day isolation period, three crew members told POLITICO. Some of the sailors who recently tested positive had previously tested negative, one Navy official said....
posted by cenoxo at 11:35 PM on April 22 [1 favorite]

The Military Can’t Save Us from COVID-19,, Jim Golby & Alice Friend [*], 4/14/2020:
Is it time to put a military officer in charge of the federal government's response to COVID-19?

Some people think so. Since the outbreak in the United States began, myriad public officials have called for the military to contribute to the response. More recently, some voices have demanded a military official takeover. One such commenter advocated for an officer to be empowered to "commandeer resources from any agency," including "HHS, CDC, FDA, DHS, FEMA, and the Departments of Defense, Commerce, and State."

Although we share the desire to find a swift way to minimize the immense suffering resulting from this tragic pandemic, we disagree that a military institution or active duty officer ought to take over the federal response. The military should support civil authorities in the COVID-19 response, not lead them....
Reasons why not in the article.

*The opinions expressed here are those of the authors and do not reflect the official position of the Army War College, the Department of the Army, the U.S. Mission to NATO or the Department of Defense [or].
posted by cenoxo at 2:07 PM on April 23 [1 favorite]

A carrier at sea is an international airport. There are many flights and dozens of people a day coming and going. It's not a closed system like a submarine. If they do get back to sea even with a guaranteed-unaffected crew, it's not over - they'll have to screen every visitor and late arrival ALSO with a pre-visit quarantine. It's possible, but another giant supply chain pain in the ass.
posted by ctmf at 6:40 PM on April 23 [1 favorite]

Norfolk Naval Shipyard implements enhanced screening at gates, widespread face mask issuance, NAVSEA, Norfolk Naval Shipyard Public Affairs, 4/23/2020:
Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) began enhanced screening procedures April 22 for personnel entering the installation, with qualified personnel taking temperatures and asking questions to ensure employees are not exhibiting any symptoms or at increased risk for having COVID-19.

NNSY is the first installation in the region and first of the four public shipyards to conduct temperature checks at its gates. To prevent delays at the gates, personnel are encouraged to show a completed daily self-assessment or inform screeners if they have performed it at home.

“The safer we maintain NNSY, which takes all our efforts, makes our ultimate goal of preventing spread at the shipyard achievable,” said Shipyard Commander Captain Kai Torkelson. “We’re helping to flatten the curve through preventions such as self-screening at home, undergoing enhanced screening at the shipyard, maintaining physical distancing, and using our hand sanitizers and cleaning kits, all in effort to protect ourselves and our co-workers. Additionally, we have greatly expanded our availability and issuance of cloth face masks, thanks to the capabilities of our very own Sail Loft, Insulation Shop and volunteers from home.”...
Think about multiplying these types of procedures, inspections, disinfections, and quality assurance practices across every branch of military service (and their vendors), and a brave new world of government bureaucracy opens up.
posted by cenoxo at 7:22 PM on April 23 [1 favorite]

Hey look who has all the facemasks they can use now. I swear, Trump has probably been handing Etsy their biggest quarter yet, and now I want to know what connections might be there.
posted by rhizome at 8:03 PM on April 23

We're doing the same stuff as NNSY, in fact beat them to putting the sail loft on mask-making and the chem lab making hand sanitizer. Every employee gets a kit of two masks and a little bottle of hand sanitizer.

We had to hurry up and make enough masks, because now we're in the "you must wear a mask at all times unless you're sitting alone at your desk" phase and "don't have one" is no longer a thing anyone can say. We gave you some. Now not having your mask is the same as not having your badge. Out.

Guess what, when guys with machine guns are helping tell everyone to put their masks on, there aren't a lot of protests. It WAS kind of an adjustment for security's mindset though. Just a few short months ago if you were walking around with your face covered, someone with a machine gun would probably tell you you couldn't do that; they had to be able to see everyone's face.
posted by ctmf at 8:46 PM on April 23 [2 favorites]

The military's Blue Angels and Thunderbirds flyovers aren't what America needs right now. The DoD is going to fly fighter jets in honor of healthcare workers. What they actually need are masks., Task & Purpose, Jared Keller, 4/23/2020:
Buckle up, pandemic-stricken Americans: the U.S. military's premiere aerial demonstration teams are on a mission to brighten your day while you're stuck at home amid the collapse of society.

The Navy Blue Angels and Air Force Thunderbirds will conduct a series of high-profile flyovers of American cities in the coming weeks in a show of solidarity with health care workers currently battling the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday.

"What we are doing is paying tribute to our front-line health care workers confronting COVID, and it's really a signal to all Americans to remain vigilant during the outbreak," Trump said.

While a nice sentiment, a high-flying version of "thank you for service" for healthcare workers isn't what Americans need right now, considering the nation's collective anxiety over the 850,000 and counting who have been infected with COVID-19 and nearly 50,000 who have died from it, not to mention the Great Depression-level increases in unemployment claims over the past few weeks. And this is to say nothing of those healthcare workers who, at places like the Veterans Affairs hospital system, simply want more equipment — lots more.

What Americans need right now is tangible help, from personal protective equipment and ventilators to economic relief. And while the flyovers, announced under the uber-patriotic moniker of 'Operation America Strong,' reflect a noble sentiment in honoring the heroes who are working day and night to beat back the spread of the deadly virus, there's a problem: they are, fundamentally, bullshit.
posted by cenoxo at 9:40 PM on April 23 [1 favorite]

"Fired" captain, I hope.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:20 PM on April 24 [1 favorite]

The Navy Now Wants To Reinstate Aircraft Carrier Captain Who Was Fired Over Outbreak Letter (Updated) — The Secretary of Defense has asked for more time to review those recommendations, which could result in yet another political firestorm., The War Zone, Joseph Trevithick, 4/24/2020
The U.S. Navy's top leadership has recommended that Captain Brett Crozier, the former commanding officer of the Nimitz class aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, be reinstated to that position...
Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Michael Gilday, the service's top uniformed officer, and the new Acting Navy Secretary, James McPherson, briefed Secretary of Defense Mark Esper on their recommendations earlier today, according to The New York Times. The recommendation to reinstate Crozier was part of a formal investigation into his conduct....
More details and background in The War Zone article, including news about another COVID-19 shipboard outbreak:
Earlier today, the service did also confirm that there had been a new significant outbreak on the Arleigh Burke class [WP] destroyer USS Kidd [WP]. So far, 18 members of that ship's crew have tested positive, one of which was medically evacuated. Kidd, which had been conducting counter-narcotics operations in the Eastern Pacific, is now heading for as yet to be disclosed port in order to disembark its crew.
Thus far, 26 Navy Battle Force Ships Have Had COVID-19 Cases, USNI News, Ben Werner, 4/23/2020.
posted by cenoxo at 4:29 PM on April 24 [2 favorites]

It'd be sweet if Biden won and made Crozier Secretary of the Navy. Then Crozier could fire all the fucks that fired him.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:36 PM on April 24 [6 favorites]

Taiwan President Apologizes After 28 Navy Sailors Infected in COVID-19 Cluster — Tsai Ing-wen vowed an investigation into Taiwan’s military, which lawmakers suspect failed to report COVID-19 cases on board a vessel returning from Palau., The Diplomat, Nick Aspinwall, 4/22/2020:
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Wednesday apologized and promised an investigation after at least 28 sailors on a naval ship tested positive for COVID-19. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) also sent texts to over 200,000 people in 10 cities and countries who had possibly been in contact with the infected sailors and urged them to practice self-health management.

The Panshih navy supply ship (WP) had been one of three vessels on a goodwill visit to Palau, one of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies, from March 12 to March 15 before returning to Kaohsiung on April 9. Its crew was allowed to disembark on April 15 – 30 days after its visiting its last port of call – but all 744 people on board the three vessels were recalled on Saturday and placed in quarantine facilities for 14 days after the CECC reported that three men interning on the Panshih had tested positive for the virus.
Tsai said Wednesday the military had erred in its handling of the Panshih case, but promised not to evade responsibility. “The military’s business is my business,” she said.
posted by cenoxo at 6:07 PM on April 24 [2 favorites]

As Nimitz prepares to depart, thousands of Bremerton sailors tested for COVID-19, Kitsap Sun, Josh Farley, 4/24/2020:
BREMERTON [WA] — Before the USS Nimitz [WP] leaves Puget Sound, Navy leaders have ordered an ambitious task: test every sailor on board for the novel coronavirus.

Thousands on the Bremerton-based aircraft carrier, as well as all the sailors and aviators that make up the flotilla known as a strike group when it's deployed, are undergoing a swab sampling — around 8,000 in all. "The Navy is committed to taking every measure possible to protect the health of our force and minimize Sailors' exposure to COVID-19," said Lt. Cmdr. Liza Dougherty, the warship's spokeswoman.

More: Amid pandemic, why USS Nimitz is critical to the country's defense

The Pentagon wants to avoid a repeat of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, which was sidelined in Guam due to an outbreak of the coronavirus on board the ship. This week, testing on the Roosevelt finally wrapped up, with 840 positive cases among almost 5,000 sailors tested. One sailor died from COVID-19 and four remain hospitalized.
The USS Nimitz, whose crew averages about 24 in age, had already been quarantined April 1 in an effort to help keep sailors from contracting the virus. But, as a review of USS Theodore Roosevelt cases found, some 60 percent were asymptomatic, and Dougherty said the goal is to find those cases and isolate them in accordance with CDC guidelines, "while protecting the overall health of the crew."...
posted by cenoxo at 8:44 PM on April 24

Destroyer underway in Pacific fighting COVID-19 outbreak, Navy Times, J.D. Simkins, 4/24/2020:
...A sailor from the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer Kidd tested positive for COVID-19 after being medically evacuated from the ship on April 23 [and flown to a treatment facility in San Antonio, Texas].

A COVID-19 medical response team was subsequently flown out to the destroyer, which was underway in the eastern Pacific, to conduct additional testing and virus tracing. Seventeen additional crew members have since tested positive, Navy officials said. “Testing continues, and we expect additional cases,” the Navy said in an April 24 release. “All measures are being taken to evaluate the extent of the COVID-19 transmission on the ship.”
The destroyer is expected to head toward its homeport of Naval Station Everett [WP] in Washington state, where it will begin undergoing deep cleaning and disinfecting in accordance to guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The crew will disembark and be quarantined ashore while the ship is cleaned.
posted by cenoxo at 11:36 AM on April 25 [1 favorite]

COVID-19 and British Nuclear Deterrence, War on the Rocks, David Arceneaux - Commentary, 4/24/2020:
[WRT Britain's ballistic missile submarines,] Nuclear weapons serve several purposes for British foreign policy, including the promotion of greater national independence — both from its adversaries and its allies — and robust deterrence against nuclear aggression [PDF]. Britain’s strategic nuclear doctrine views nuclear weapons as a “deterrent of last resort” and asserts that nuclear weapons “would only be used in extreme circumstances of self-defense.” The British nuclear deterrent therefore hinges upon the credibility of its threat to respond to aggression with nuclear weapons under any circumstances.

Public concerns regarding the impact of COVID-19 on Britain’s nuclear command and control systems — referring to the operational means by which a state conducts the management, deployment, and potential release of nuclear weapons — capture a fundamental challenge of nuclear deterrence. In order to credibly deter an adversary, decision-makers must be able to authorize and communicate orders to use nuclear weapons under any circumstances. If COVID-19 renders political leaders unable to authorize nuclear use because these individuals are incapacitated or the procedures for devolution of nuclear launch authority become unclear, the United Kingdom’s ability to use nuclear weapons might falter.

Such a disconnect between political leaders with the authority to order nuclear use and military operators in possession of nuclear assets would fundamentally undermine deterrence and create a window of vulnerability that adversaries — especially Russia — could exploit. COVID-19 therefore threatens to create a gap in the United Kingdom’s strategic nuclear deterrent for the first time in the era of continuous at sea deterrent patrols. Domestically, the costs of maintaining continuous at sea deterrent patrols has also renewed longstanding debates in Britain about the utility of nuclear weapons, as critics suggest that investments in nuclear weapons should instead be redirected to support public health programs and offset the economic costs of COVID-19.
Note additional details in the article. See also WP's Nuclear weapons and the United Kingdom > An Independent Deterrent.
posted by cenoxo at 11:03 AM on April 26

Naval destroyer Kidd reports rise in virus cases to 33, Navy Times (Associated Press), 4/26/2020:
The Navy reports that the number of sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer Kidd confirmed to be infected with the novel coronavirus has nearly doubled, rising from 18 on Friday to 33.

The destroyer with its crew of 350 are off the Pacific coast of South America. Its current mission is related to U.S. counter-drug activities. In a statement issued Saturday, the Navy said an embarked medical team continues testing of the Kidd’s crew. Two sailors have been medically evacuated to the United States. Meanwhile, officials say those aboard the Kidd are wearing N95 masks and other personal protective equipment.

The Navy says the amphibious assault ship Makin Island [WP] is en route to rendezvous with Kidd in case medical support is required at sea. Officials say the Makin Island has a fleet surgical team, intensive care capacity and ventilators as well as additional testing capability....
posted by cenoxo at 8:10 PM on April 26

More backstory on the USS KiddA Navy Ship Trump Ordered To Fight Cartels Exploiting Coronavirus Got Hit So Hard By Covid-19, Another Country Had To Help It; Newsweek, Tom O'Connor & Naveed Jamali, 4/24/2020:
A U.S. warship carrying out President Donald Trump's recently enhanced anti-drug mission he linked to stopping the spread of the novel coronavirus is now suffering a serious outbreak of the disease. Because one sailor required medical attention, another country stepped in to help.

The Navy announced Friday that a sailor aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd "tested positive for COVID-19 after being medically evacuated to the United States from operations at sea, April 23." The senior Pentagon official told Newsweek that this service member was "evacuated from the ship through the assistance of coordination with a partner nation in Central America."
Trump announced the Enhanced Counter-Narcotics Mission that the USS Kidd was conducting on April 1, and during a news conference, linked the mission to the coronavirus pandemic.

...other senior U.S. officials criticized the mission, telling Newsweek that the mission had actually been developed months ago and was designed to pressure Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and bore no relation to stopping the spread of coronavirus....
posted by cenoxo at 8:31 PM on April 26

I have little hope at this point, but it would be great if Trump digs his bone spurs in and fights the Navy on Crozier's reinstatement, just to make it more obvious what a petty dictator he is.
posted by benzenedream at 10:30 PM on April 26

2020 coronavirus pandemic on naval shipsWikipedia summary of military vessels with COVID-19 positive cases, last edited 26 April 2020. This includes ships from Belgium, France, Netherlands, Taiwan, and the United States:
Due to the nature of operations security, national militaries may have policies in place that prevent or restrict reporting of SARS-CoV-2 infections and COVID-19 deaths, so although the cases listed below may have been widely reported in reliable sources, confirmation by official spokespeople of the respective militaries is not systematic.[3]
Links and references in the article.
posted by cenoxo at 6:13 AM on April 27

Thunderbirds, Blue Angels to Start Nationwide Tour in New York, Air Force Magazine, Brian W. Everstine, 4/26/2020:
The Air Force’s Thunderbirds will kick off a nationwide tour honoring first responders and essential workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic on April 28 in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, flying alongside the Navy’s Blue Angels.

The “America Strong” tour will start around noon in New York City, followed by flyovers in Newark, Trenton, and Philadelphia. The teams will then move on to other cities across the country, with demonstrations occurring every one to two days, according to a Pentagon release [DOD release 4/24/2020].
The two teams, which have planned the mission for about a month, are urging people in each city to watch the flyover from their home quarantine and maintain social distance guidelines.

Neither demonstration team has announced the entirety of the “America Strong” schedule. The Washington Post, citing an internal memo, reported [WaPo 4/22/2020] the Thunderbirds will fly to San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Phoenix, San Diego, Los Angeles, Portland, Ore., and Seattle. The Blue Angels will fly over Miami, Tampa, Tallahassee, and Jacksonville, Fla., as well as Norfolk and Virginia Beach, Va. The team will also visit Detroit, Chicago, Indianapolis, Nashville, New Orleans, and Kingsville and Corpus Christi, Texas.
Check with local news media for dates and times.
posted by cenoxo at 7:53 AM on April 27

Thunderbirds, Blue Angels to Start Nationwide Tour in New York,

IIRC, each pilot requires 10 ground-crew/chief/asst chiefs, who will all be put at greater risk of infection, in addition to the inherent risks of flying fighter jets in close formation. This public display of -- whatever -- isn't worth the risk. But Republicans gotta "virtue signal" I guess.
posted by mikelieman at 9:46 AM on April 27 [1 favorite]

Blue Angels and Thunderbirds Announce U.S. Flyover Routes for Tuesday, April 28, 2020; The Aviationist, Tom Demerly, 4/27/2020 (with route maps).
posted by cenoxo at 1:56 PM on April 27

Thunderbirds, Blue Angels to Start Nationwide Tour in New York

How much is this going to cost, and how many N95 masks could we buy with the money instead?
posted by kirkaracha at 3:10 PM on April 27 [3 favorites]

Can you see raised middle fingers from a fighter jet in flight?
posted by ctmf at 6:18 PM on April 27 [1 favorite]

Probably nothing that wasn't going to be spent anyway (the pilots have to fly regardless to maintain currency) and zero because masks are supply constrained, aside from the stockpile of stuff the feds have seized from the states.

There is certainly an argument to be made about appropriateness as well as that the military is too damn big to begin with, but that's a fight about next year.
posted by wierdo at 6:19 PM on April 27 [1 favorite]

The National Security Implications of COVID-19, Opinions, Joseph V. Micallef, 4/27/2020:
COVID-19 is simply one battle in a longer and larger war that humankind has waged with coronaviruses for generations. This pandemic, however, has underscored the national security implications of such outbreaks. Even with a COVID-19 vaccine, the enormous pool of potential pathogens, and the current patterns of world trade and travel, mean that it is likely that new pathogens may emerge in the future whose medical and economic consequences may be as devastating as COVID-19, or even worse.

The U.S. military has been on the frontline of the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic and played a major role in marshaling medical assistance and building emergency facilities to deal with the anticipated surge. In doing so, it reclaimed a role that it played extensively during the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century.

The legacy of the COVID-19 pandemic on national security will be manifold. Three aspects in particular stand out already [bullets added]:
  • an expanded role for the U.S. military in providing the surge capacity in medical facilities and personnel in the event there is another pandemic;
  • a rethinking of what procedures and policies are necessary for preserving force readiness in the face of disease outbreaks;
  • and a new assessment of biological threats, whether deliberately weaponized or not, on national security.
[Details follow in the article.]
...Ultimately, the U.S. needs a strategy for dealing with the incidence of such pandemics, as they are likely, whether deliberate or otherwise, to occur again. The DoD must preserve its military force readiness while simultaneously providing care for stricken personnel. At the same time, Washington needs a bipartisan strategy to deal with the economic and human consequences in a sustainable way.
posted by cenoxo at 8:03 PM on April 27

Probably nothing that wasn't going to be spent anyway (the pilots have to fly regardless to maintain currency)

Aside from the "But do they, really" questions, these teams fly way more than their respective services' training-standard flight hours. Also, you have to include travel and lodging costs for the pilots, mechanics, etc. (billets in these teams aren't onlysought-after because they're prestigious within their fields -- team members also make a lot of per diem and special pays and suchlike that wouldn't have to be spent if they just stayed in Pensacola and Nellis and took a few laps to get their hours).
posted by Etrigan at 8:10 AM on April 28 [3 favorites]

Here's How Much a Military Jet Flyover Costs on July 4, Inverse, Jack Crosbie; July 5, 2017:
On the Fourth of July, cities across America will incorporate flyovers into their celebrations this year. The cost of a flyover is a bit difficult to determine, however, as it depends on the type of plane used, the location, and how many planes are flying. The short answer is, for any kind of active jet flyover, it’s going to be well over $100,000 — but the real answer could be much more than that...
...depending on the maintenance/operational costs of the planes used and other expenses. More at WP about the USN Blue Angels and USAF Thunderbirds.

If the pilot pool, like the rest of humanity, remains vulnerable to COVID-19 infections, maybe the days of expensive air shows with large crowds will become a thing of the past.
posted by cenoxo at 10:00 AM on April 28

Carrier Nimitz Crew Was Quarantined for 27 Days Before Departure,, Gina Harkins, 4/28/2020:
The Navy appears to be taking extra precautions to ensure the next aircraft carrier crew getting underway doesn't see a repeat of the health crisis playing out on another ship in the Pacific. Thousands of sailors assigned to the carrier Nimitz departed Bremerton, Washington, on Monday [4/26/2020] for their final pre-deployment training exercises.

The entire crew was not only tested for COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, but also spent 27 days quarantined before departing. That's nearly double the 14-day period the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend for anyone at risk for developing or passing along the virus....
Related: Navy Believes Delivery Flights, Not Vietnam Port Stop, Brought Virus to Carrier [USS Theodore Roosevelt].
posted by cenoxo at 2:28 AM on April 29

Coronavirus cases aboard 2nd Navy ship still rising, now 64, Navy Times, Robert Burns (Associated Press), 4/28/2020:
The number of coronavirus cases aboard the guided-missile destroyer Kidd rose to 64 as the Navy destroyer pulled into port at San Diego on Tuesday to get medical care for the crew and to disinfect and decontaminate the ship.

The Kidd is the second Navy ship to have an outbreak of the disease while at sea, the other being the Theodore Roosevelt, an aircraft carrier that has been docked at Guam for a month. The Roosevelt has more than 900 sailors with confirmed cases of COVID-19, but the entire crew has now been tested.

The Navy has moved swiftly to get the Kidd’s crew ashore. That was a point of contention with the Roosevelt, whose skipper, Capt. Brett Crozier, felt compelled to write to several other commanders pleading for more urgent Navy action to protect his crew of nearly 5,000....
Isolated Kidd sailors will have twice-daily medical screenings, and negative crew members will enter quarantine with military health professionals monitoring them. A small group of negative sailors will stay aboard ship for essential services and two weeks of deep cleaning.

With the Roosevelt and Kidd both in port, the Navy said no deployed ships currently have known coronavirus cases aboard. Thirteen ships that previously had one or more active cases while in port have zero cases now.
posted by cenoxo at 2:59 AM on April 29

Those risk tolerances aren't going to raise themselves!
posted by rhizome at 10:37 AM on April 29 [1 favorite]

Voting with your feet.
posted by cenoxo at 10:44 AM on April 29

It's the inverse of foot voting, "...the ability of the people to choose the political regime under which they wish to live." This is an exhibition by the political regime to choose their people. This crowd isn't choosing anything except to raise their risk tolerance [ibid], be social, get some sun, etc. If anything, it's politicians "campaigning/legislating with your feet." Funny how you can use almost those same words to describe voter fraud.
posted by rhizome at 10:56 AM on April 29

Nice back-handed compliment comment below that Daily Mail article: "Having the Blue Angels fly over the city for healthcare workers is like when I ask my husband for help around the house and he buys me flowers."
posted by cenoxo at 10:56 AM on April 29 [8 favorites]

The crowds are voting with their feet against stay-at-home directives. At least many spectators (including the military pilots) are wearing masks, and some are trying to keep personal distances.
posted by cenoxo at 11:05 AM on April 29

Acting SECNAV orders reinvestigation of carrier Roosevelt COVID-19 outbreak (NavyTimes, via MilitaryTimes, April 29, 2020) According to Acting Secretary of the Navy James McPherson, the Navy will conduct another investigation into Crozier’s ouster and the spread of COVID-19 aboard the carrier — a move that comes after Navy leadership reportedly backed reinstating Crozier to his command following the results of an initial review.[...]

Politico was the first to report the update. On Saturday, Politico also reported that Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley recommended Secretary of Defense Mark Esper hold off on reinstating Crozier, and conduct a supplementary investigation. Meanwhile, McPherson and Gilday had already advised Esper on Friday to reinstate Crozier, the New York Times reported. But McPherson decided to pursue another investigation after receiving Milley’s input, a defense official told Politico.

Navy Orders Deeper Investigation into Crozier Firing Over 'Unanswered Questions' (, April 29, 2020) The new acting Navy secretary [James McPherson] has ordered a deeper look into the controversial firing of Capt. Brett Crozier, delaying his possible return to command and potentially opening other leaders up to scrutiny.

Army Says It Has Found the Best Fabric for DIY Face Masks (, April 28, 2020) and it's "four-ply microfiber cloth, which is popular for cleaning and polishing surfaces"; this fabric can filter out over 75% of particles. "In comparison, the N95 mask used by healthcare workers in hospitals can filter 95 percent of particles or greater."
Thanks to the folks who have linked to the Military Times and as sources; now I skim the sites a couple of times a week and they're always fascinating.
posted by Iris Gambol at 12:01 PM on April 29 [2 favorites]

Five Ways The U.S. Military Will Change After The Pandemic, War On The Rocks, David Barno & Nora Bensahel, 4/28/2020:
The global pandemic is about to profoundly change the U.S. military’s role in defending the United States — even if Pentagon leaders don’t know it yet. As we noted in our last column, many Americans will look at the immeasurable damage wrought by the pandemic and conclude that defending the homeland from catastrophic threats is far more urgent than defending against foreign threats far from American shores. That fundamental shift is rapidly ushering in a new era for the Department of Defense, which will upend some of its bedrock assumptions about when, where, and how the U.S. military contributes to national security.
The inevitable national security reckoning after the pandemic will pose tremendous challenges for the Department of Defense. Since the vast majority of its efforts and its enormous budget focus on deterring and defending against external threats as far away from the homeland as possible, it will need to adapt to a deeply changed environment where serious threats inside the homeland matter far more to most Americans. There are at least five key changes that will shape the choices and decisions that lie ahead for Pentagon leaders:
  • Cyber and Space Will Be Higher Priorities Than Land, Sea, and Air
  • Reliance on Forward Defense Will Diminish
  • The Reserve Component Will Become Much More Important
  • Legacy Programs and End Strength Will Be Cut — By a Lot
  • The Prestige of the U.S. Military Will Be Dimmed
[Details follow in the article.]
A worldwide crisis without borders has erupted, and the rest of the planet may discover they don't need (or want) the help of the United States to survive it.
posted by cenoxo at 8:30 PM on April 29 [2 favorites]

Acting SecNav Decides To Keep Major Modly Reforms — Acting Navy Secretary James McPherson is only three weeks into the job, but is making weighty decisions, including Wednesday’s call for a wider inquiry into his predecessor Thomas Modly’s firing of the captain of the COVID-19 stricken USS Theodore Roosevelt., Breaking Defense, Paul McLeary, 4/30/2020:
...Acting Secretary James McPherson is only three weeks into the job, but his schedule has been dominated by weighty decisions, including his call on Wednesday for a wider inquiry into predecessor Thomas Modly’s firing of the captain of the COVID-19 stricken USS Theodore Roosevelt.

Days after the Navy recommended to Defense Secretary Mark Esper that Roosevelt Capt. Brett Crozier be reinstated, McPherson ordered a new review of decisions made by the chain of command in the Pacific leading up to his firing. While that decision is generating headlines, several other decisions McPherson has made might have a longer-term impact on the fleet.

Significantly, the new secretary has decided to keep the Future Carrier Task Force 2030 [*], the stem to stern review of the service aimed at finding at least $40 billion [**] in service savings, and the Make FORD Ready [***] summits designed to push progress on the Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier [WP]....

[Details follow in the article.]
*Beyond The Ford: Navy Studies Next-Gen Carriers, Breaking Defense 3/5/2020.
**Navy Looks to Slash $40B To Build Bigger Fleet, Breaking Defense 2/18/2020.
***Navy Launches "Make Ford Ready" Carrier Initiative, Maritime Executive 1/9/2020.

In lives and/or treasure, how much peacekeeping or warmaking can we afford?
posted by cenoxo at 11:59 AM on April 30

Why the Navy Has Stopped Releasing Ships' COVID-19 Case Counts,, Gina Harkins, 5/1/2020:
A second deployed [unidentified?] Navy warship was sidelined this week after the coronavirus spread among its crew members, but the service has [said] it won't be giving anymore ship-specific updates on how many people have caught the illness.

Pentagon leaders want to break the pattern of providing the public with what one official called "minor changes" when it comes to the number of COVID-19 cases on ships. "We believe that we've moved past the point where the daily updates are providing useful information for public conversation," Jonathan Rath Hoffman, a Pentagon spokesman, said on Friday.

The service's Thursday COVID-19 update from the Navy Office of Information [link] stated that only significant changes on the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, destroyer Kidd and other deployed vessels would be released. Hoffman said leaders made the decision after the full crews were tested for the virus, moved off the ship and the vessels were disinfected.
For security reasons, little (if any) new information will be released publicly about COVID-19 infections aboard other deployed, operational U.S. Navy ships.

Related: Coronavirus Lessons from USS Roosevelt Outbreak Helped USS Kidd.
posted by cenoxo at 8:23 AM on May 2

> Probably nothing that wasn't going to be spent anyway (the pilots have to fly regardless to maintain currency)

Or not. They don't have to fly. They don't have to maintain currency. We could let the program wither away.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:10 AM on May 3 [1 favorite]

If you let the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels wither away, congratulations! You have two new combat or training squadrons that still need to maintain currency.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 9:47 AM on May 3 [1 favorite]

No, no, think bigger than that.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:54 AM on May 3 [5 favorites]

Sure, we could get rid of the military, but we aren't, so I'm not quite sure what your point is.
posted by wierdo at 12:45 PM on May 3

I don't know that downsizing 30 pilots and crew qualifies as getting rid of the military.
posted by rhizome at 1:21 PM on May 3 [3 favorites]

That's not thinking bigger...
posted by wierdo at 3:33 PM on May 3

What it's like on the USS Harry S. Truman — a 'clean' Navy aircraft carrier too valuable to be allowed home, Task & Purpose; Phil Stewart & Idrees Ali, Reuters; 5/2/2020:
On any given day, the U.S. aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman can be found off the Atlantic coast of the United States, probably somewhere between Virginia and Florida. Its crew would love to come home to their families. But they can't. They're just too valuable right now.

That's because the Truman is a "clean" ship, free from the coronavirus thanks to a longer-than-expected deployment at sea that started in November. The deployment has kept its battle-ready 4,500 crew out of reach of a pandemic that is wreaking havoc elsewhere in the Navy.

Captain Kavon "Hak" Hakimzadeh and members of his crew described to Reuters in exclusive interviews the mixed emotions of being so close to home, but too precious to pull into port, as the Truman settles into a pandemic-driven operational limbo. "This is a really weird situation for us," Hakimzadeh told Reuters by phone, the only way to speak to anyone on board given a ban on visitors....
The Truman (callsign Lone Warrior) is not shut down, it's shut out. More about the USS Harry S. Truman (WP).
posted by cenoxo at 9:52 PM on May 3 [1 favorite]

Carrier prepares to go back to sea after virus outbreak, Associated Press, Lolita C. Baldor, 5/5/2020:
... On board the coronavirus-stricken USS Theodore Roosevelt, the crew is getting the aircraft carrier ready to head back out to sea. For the ship’s commander, Capt. Carlos Sardiello, the road to recovery has been a challenge. For the crew sidelined in Guam for more than a month, it’s been an emotional roller coaster. Sardiello was a former Roosevelt captain when he abruptly returned to the ship in early April to take command after Capt. Brett Crozier was fired for urging faster action to stem the virus outbreak onboard....

More than 4,000 crew members went ashore last month. While more than 2,000 are back on board, at least 1,000 are still testing positive for the virus and remain on land. And the close to 700 crew members who had been protecting and running the Roosevelt and systems aboard have now moved into hotels and other facilities on the island for their quarantine.

When it’s time to return to the ship, boarding takes place in slow, meticulous waves. Wearing gloves and masks, the crew members climb onto sterile buses only after they’ve had two negative tests for the virus. They are screened and checked when they get on the bus and again before they board the ship. And even a simple sniffle can get them turned back.

Those who had stayed on the ship did deep cleaning four times a day. And as they left the ship to go onto Guam for their own quarantine period, the turnover to the clean crew was a bit of a dance. According to Sardiello, those leaving the ship backed out like painters, cleaning as they stepped out of their workspaces. And as they left by one door, the virus-free crew came in another, cleaning as they moved aboard....
The Roosevelt will go to sea in a few weeks for training, systems checks, and re-certifying air crews. Quarantined sailors will stay in Guam where the ship will pick them up after the training.
posted by cenoxo at 2:11 AM on May 5 [1 favorite]

Ronald Reagan, after taking some precautions to increase confidence the crew is healthy, went to sea in the Western Pacific today.
posted by ctmf at 5:18 PM on May 5

Former USS Theodore Roosevelt commander leaves Guam for new assignment, Stars & Stripes, Caitlin M. Kenney, 5/5/2020:
WASHINGTON— Capt. Brett Crozier, the former commander of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, has left Guam where he had been fighting the coronavirus and has been reassigned to a position in California, according to a Navy official. Crozier now reports to the commander of Naval Air Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet, based in San Diego, Cmdr. Ron Flanders, a spokesman for Naval Air Forces, wrote Tuesday in an email. ... Crozier is now special assistant to Capt. Max McCoy, the chief of staff for the commander of Naval Air Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet, according to Flanders.
The Navy initiated an investigation into the outbreak and Crozier’s letter following his dismissal. On [Friday] April 24, [2020], the Navy’s top leaders briefed Defense Secretary Mark Esper on the investigation and news reports said they recommended Crozier be reinstated as commander of the Roosevelt. However, no action was taken after Esper requested more time to review the Navy’s written report.
Acting Navy Secretary James McPherson on Wednesday [April 22, 2020] ordered a deeper review into the virus outbreak aboard the Roosevelt and the Navy’s response, following an initial investigation that left him with “unanswered questions.” The investigation is expected to be submitted to Adm. Mike Gilday, the chief of naval operations, by May 27 unless an extension is granted, Cmdr. Nate Christensen, a spokesman for Gilday, said Thursday in a statement.
This is a temporary assignment (apparently until the secondary investigation is completed) — Fired Theodore Roosevelt commander Brett Crozier reassigned to San Diego, Navy Times, Geoff Ziezulewicz, 5/5/2020:
Crozier arrived in San Diego Monday night, according to Naval Air Forces spokesman Cmdr. Ron Flanders. ... He will serve as special assistant to the Naval Air Forces chief of staff in a temporary duty assignment. ... Flanders declined to comment on whether this temporary duty reflects any decisions made regarding Crozier’s reinstatement as captain of the Big Stick. “That’s above us,” Flanders said.
posted by cenoxo at 7:11 PM on May 5

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