Robert HARNEIS -TDO- (FRANCE)- Top US Navy officials are recommending that Capt. Brett Crozier, the former commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, be reinstated to his position, according to a senior defense official with knowledge of the decision.

The unprecedented decision, which still must be approved by Defense Secretary Mark Esper, follows the resignation of acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly, who had publicly criticized Crozier for how he handled a coronavirus outbreak on his ship.

Crozier lost his command this month after a letter requesting help from Navy leaders leaked to the media. Crozier pleaded for more resources as the virus, which has now infected more than 1000 crew members, raced through his ship. One of the crew has died.

The case has revealed to the world the vulnerability of big warships to infectious diseases and biological warfare. The Roosevelt has a crew of over 5,000 living in close proximity.

The incident raises another question mark over the viability of the hugely expensive US fleet of 11 giant aircraft carriers. They are thought to be vulnerable to submarine attack or mass attack by missiles. Their main usefulness has been as offshore air bases when attacking small countries like Iraq, Serbia, Afghanistan or Libya.

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