- U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Jake McClung
- The former acting Navy secretary’s trip out to the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt to deliver a speech critical of its former captain to the crew cost taxpayers $243,000, USA Today first reported.
- The carrier is currently at port in Guam, where the crew is working to get a coronavirus outbreak aboard the ship under control.
- The acting Navy’s secretary’s 35-hour round-trip flight aboard one of the service’s executive jets cost $6,946.19 per hour, bringing the exact total to $243,116.65.
- A Navy official confirmed to Insider the cost figure for the trip, which ultimately cost the Navy chief his job.
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Former Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly flew out to the coronavirus-stricken aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt over the weekend to deliver a speech bashing the ship’s former captain to the crew. The trip cost taxpayers $243,000, USA Today first reported, citing a Navy official.
The TR is currently in port in Guam as the crew deals with a coronavirus outbreak that has seen nearly 300 sailors test positive for the virus.
Modly’s 35-hour round-trip flight to and from Guam aboard a C-37B, a military variant of the Gulfstream 550, cost $6,946.19 per hour, bringing the total cost of the flight to $243,116.65.
A Navy official confirmed the cost figure to Insider.
In his speech to the crew, Modly bashed Capt. Brett Crozier, whom he relieved of duty last Thursday after a letter the former TR commanding officer wrote warning of a worsening coronavirus outbreak aboard the carrier leaked to the media.
Modly suggested that Crozier either purposefully allowed the letter to leak or was “too naive or too stupid to be the commanding officer,” leaked audio of the speech revealed.
“The spoken words were from the heart,” Modly said in a statement Monday following the leak. “I stand by every word I said, even, regrettably any profanity that may have been used for emphasis. Anyone who has served on a Navy ship would understand.”
That night, as lawmakers called for him to resign or be fired, he issued a statement apologizing for his remarks. “I want to apologize to the Navy for my recent comments to the crew of the TR.” He added that he also wanted “to apologize directly to Captain Crozier, his family, and the entire crew of the Theodore Roosevelt for any pain my remarks may have caused.”
The apology was reportedly directed by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.
As the situation continued to spiral, Modly “resigned on his own accord,” Esper said Tuesday, noting that the former acting Navy secretary was “putting the Navy and the sailors above self so that the USS Theodore Roosevelt, and the Navy as an institution, can move forward.”
So, in addition to costing roughly $243,000, the trip also ultimately cost Modly his job. It may have also risked his health, as USA Today reports he is in self-quarantine after visiting the coronavirus-stricken carrier.
As of Wednesday, there were 286 positive coronavirus cases aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt. Crozier is reportedly among those who have tested positive.
Update: The total cost was $243.116.65, not $243,151.65, as was initially reported.