Recording: When Acting Navy Sec Thomas Modly Called Crozier ‘Stupid,’ Sailors Can Be Heard Shouting ‘What The F***’

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Shelby Talcott Senior White House Correspondent
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Sailors aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt could be heard shouting expletives as Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly called the recently fired Capt. Brett Crozier “stupid” during a speech Monday.

Modly made a surprise visit to the ship, which is docked in Guam, after Crozier was relieved of his duties. The captain had sent a letter begging the Navy to send resources and help to the at least 100 sailors on board who have the novel coronavirus.

A transcript of Modly’s speech was first reported by the Daily Caller, and an audio portion of the speech was first published by Task & Purpose on Monday.

“What the fuck?!” at least one sailor can be heard yelling as Modly called Crozier “too naive or too stupid to be a commanding officer of a ship like this.”


Commanders immediately made attempts to suppress Modly’s speech, one Navy officer familiar with the situation told the Daily Caller.

“And the CAG (carrier air wing commander, the guy in charge of the aircraft on the carrier, an O-6) sent an email to the entire crew after the SECNAV was done saying ‘in order to publish a speech you need that person’s explicit permission and you don’t have the secant’s permission to publish what he just said, so if you recorded what he just said delete it immediately,’” the Navy officer said.

“That’s totally not how publishing speeches work, but it’s clear they quickly realized how poorly the speech was received and are trying to suppress it.”

Modly also repeatedly bashed the media during his speech to sailors. He said America would “no longer have a Navy” if all other CO’s “also believed the media was a proper channel to air grievances with their Chain of Command under difficult circumstances.”

“And I’m gonna tell you something, all of you, there is never a situation where you should consider the media a part of your chain of command,” Modly said. “Because the media has an agenda and the agenda that they have depends on which side of the political aisle they sit, and I’m sorry that’s the way the country is now, but it’s the truth. And so they use it to divide us and use it to embarrass the Navy. They use it to embarrass you.”

Modly did not back down regarding his speech in a statement given Monday. He appeared to only regret “any profanity that may have been used for emphasis.”

The decision to relieve Crozier of his duties does not appear to have sat well with the around 4,000 crew members on board the USS Theodore Roosevelt. Video of the day Crozier was removed from the ship shows sailors cheering him as he left. (RELATED: Fired Navy Captain Reportedly Tests Positive For Coronavirus)

Crozier’s letter begged the Navy to send additional resources to the ship, which has been quarantined in Guam and has seen an increasing number of sailors test positive for the virus. Crozier explained that the ship does not allow sailors to properly practice social distancing guidelines.

The former captain of the ship wrote that America is “not at war” and that “Sailors do not need to die.” Crozier’s letter was obtained by the SF Chronicle.

The Navy did not respond to requests for comment from the Daily Caller.