Former acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly recently took a trip to Guam. This trip cost the US taxpayers $243,000 and arguably, it cost Modly his job.
If you are not familiar with the bizarre story of the USS Roosevelt you can refresh yourself, here. After Captain Crozier was relieved of his command, Modly took a trip to Guam to get “eyes on” the situation. This was opposed by some as an unnecessary risk because it would expose the top Navy official to a ship with over 400 COVID-19 patients.
However, top Pentagon officials defended this trip as necessary for leadership to manage a developing crisis. This has also drawn fire from some as being hypocritical. They point to the lack of action by Modly prior to the leaked letter written by Captain Crozier.
A service member, who wishes to remain anonymous, told us “If it was such a crisis, why did he wait so long?”
Modly arrived at the ship and gave a 15 minute speech to both Sailors and Marines. Another source told us, “No one wanted him here. Life was hard enough without having to deal with the brass.”
In the speech, Modly criticized the ship’s former Captain. He also offered stern guidance to the crew. Consequently, many politicians and Veterans alike were irate upon reading transcripts and hearing recordings. Initially Modly defended his actions, but ultimately, resigned.
When asked who authorized Modly’s trip, Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist stated, “As Secretary of the Navy, Tom Modly does have the authority to travel, as needed, to see the mission.”
Defense officials have avoided giving specific details. Such a long trip would most likely require the use of multiple crews to comply with mandatory rest requirements. Reports obtained state that the C-37B jet he used costs almost $7,000 an hour to operate.
As a result of the fall out, Tom Modly offered his resignation to Defense Secretary Mark Esper. In the announcement, Esper highlighted that Modly “served the nation for many years, both in and out of uniform.” Esper went on to say that he believes Modly did the right thing.
To the contrary, Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., said the expensive trip “only made the situation aboard the USS Roosevelt exponentially worse while still failing to address the needs of the crew, and the fleet, to protect itself amid the COVID-19 outbreak.”
Was this a case of good initiative, but bad judgement? Did Former acting Secretary Modly do the right thing? Sound off in the comments below.