I have an outsider’s opinion about the recent unfortunate happening aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt.

Carrier commanding officers are Navy pilots, and former squadron leaders. They are skilled in directing dangerous missions with highly trained personnel in hot airplanes, but not experienced in managing floating cities which operate far from shoreside facilities. Those giant vessels require extreme seamanship skills just to move from the dock. For that work aircraft carriers have qualified line officers aboard as back up, but the CO with the ultimate responsibility is still an aviator, not a mariner. And lacking crucial years of ship and crew management savvy.

Distinguished aviation squadron commanding officers are required by the Navy to command carriers to qualify for Flag rank. There have been other disasters: The USS Kitty Hawk’s tragically mismanaged race riot comes to mind. I believe there should be another way to make Admirals out of jet jockeys. Nobody asks prospective SEAL Admirals to qualify with ship commands.

I am suggesting the USS Roosevelt’s commanding officer, apparently stricken himself with the virus, was a victim of the bad policy that put him in that billet in the first place. As for that acting Secretary of the Navy, a civilian appointee, there are no words.

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