Former SECNAV’s trip to Guam for in-person speech to sailors cost $243,000

Former SECNAV’s trip to Guam for in-person speech to sailors cost $243,000

Thomas Modly’s resignation as acting secretary of the Navy came less than one day after he told sailors aboard the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt that their recently-fired commanding officer was either “too naïve or too stupid” to command.

Although he later apologized for his word choice to sailors aboard the coronavirus-stricken ship, the trip to Guam had already taken its toll on Modly’s professional career — and on the wallets of taxpayers.

According to estimates obtained by the Washington Post Wednesday, Modly’s last-minute tirade came with an airfare bill of $243,151.65.

The near quarter-million dollar tab included approximately 35 hours of round-trip flight time to Guam in a C-37B jet at a cost of almost $7,000 per hour, the Washington Post reported. The jet reportedly stopped to refuel in Hawaii on each leg of the trip.

The former acting Navy secretary flew to Guam to offer sailors an explanation for his hasty dismissal of Capt. Brett Crozier. The former commanding officer of the Roosevelt was fired following the leak a letter he wrote, which was obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle, pleading for U.S. intervention to stifle a COVID-19 outbreak on the 4,800-person ship.

“It was a betrayal,” Modly told Roosevelt sailors, who just days earlier sent their commanding officer off amid rousing applause and chants of Crozier’s name as he departed the ship for the last time.

“And I can tell you one other thing: because he did that he put it in the public’s forum and it is now a big controversy in Washington, D.C. If he didn’t think, in my opinion, that this information wasn’t going to get out to the public, in this day and information age that we live in, then he was either A, too naïve or too stupid to be a commanding officer of a ship like this. The alternative is that he did this on purpose.”

Modly’s job was immediately called into question by numerous Democratic members of Congress including House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith, D-Wash., who accused Modly of taking a “tone-deaf approach more focused on personal ego.”

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