Navy Restores Fired CO's Nameplate to Roosevelt Plaque

Navy Capt. Brett Crozier's nameplate temporarily removed.
Navy Capt. Brett Crozier's nameplate was temporarily removed from the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt's commanding officers plaque (left), raising concerns on social media. His name has since been added back (right). (Photos courtesy of JOPA)

Navy leaders say there wasn't anything sinister behind the removal of Capt. Brett Crozier's nameplate on a plaque listing the officers who have commanded the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt.

A photo surfaced on social media this week appearing to show Crozier's name stripped from the list of Roosevelt commanding officers after he was relieved of command earlier this year.

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"Fan submission. Looks like CAPT Crozier got Crozier'd ..." the Junior Officer's Protection Association Facebook group posted above the photo.

Some commenters accused the Navy of purposely removing his name after Crozier's high-profile April relief when leaders took issue with his handling of a coronavirus outbreak on the ship. Crozier was relieved days after an email he sent to higher-ups about the ship's growing health crisis was leaked to the press.

Capt. Daniel Keeler, the Roosevelt's executive officer, responded to the claims.

"(Sigh)," Keeler posted on the JOPA Facebook page on Wednesday. "It's getting fixed ... not a directed removal. We think someone took it as a souvenir."

Several hours later, Keeler posted a photo of the updated plaque showing both Crozier's nameplate and one for the new commanding officer, Capt. Eric Anduze.

"Done. (Until someone else decides they want a 'souvenir')," Keeler wrote, linking to a Navy Times story on the matter, which first reported the dustup Wednesday.

Lt. Cmdr. Jacqueline Pau, a Roosevelt spokeswoman, told Navy Times the ship was in the process of updating the commanding officer plaque. Crozier's photo still hangs alongside those of other Roosevelt leaders, she added.

"We honor all of our current and past COs in multiple places throughout the ship," Pau told Navy Times.

Crozier's relief, directed by former Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly, was unpopular with the Roosevelt crew. Hundreds were seen gathering to cheer for Crozier and chant his name as he walked off the ship following his relief.

More than 1,200 Roosevelt crew members ultimately tested positive for COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, after the carrier was allowed to make a stop in Vietnam at the start of the global pandemic. One of the sailors died from the virus.

The Roosevelt was sidelined in Guam for weeks as most of the crew was moved into quarantine.

The Navy ultimately upheld the decision to relieve Crozier from his position as the ship's commanding officer. Modly later resigned after he faced backlash for flying out to the ship to address the crew just after Crozier's relief and making a speech, in which he said the captain was "too naïve or too stupid to be a commanding officer of a ship like this."

Modly was later ordered to apologize for the comments. He resigned soon after.

-- Gina Harkins can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @ginaaharkins.

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