As a carrier aviator with more than 500 arrested landings and multiple deployments over the course of 11 years of active service, I am intimately familiar with the intense environment aboard a nuclear aircraft carrier. I have zero doubt that Brett did exactly what was necessary to communicate the facts of a difficult situation to the chain of command, and that he did it by the book. Having observed his character closely under intense pressure, over the course of decades, I do not believe for a moment that he “panicked” or let himself be ruled by emotions…

Given that constraint, the acting secretary’s public comments were all the more shocking and disgraceful. It is one thing to speak to the public about the facts and decisions leading to a dismissal. It is another entirely to make statements to the crew and the public that defame the character of a good man who has no opportunity to defend himself.

The mission of the United States Naval Academy, which Acting Secretary Modly, Captain Crozier, and I all attended, is “To develop Midshipmen morally, mentally and physically and to imbue them with the highest ideals of duty, honor and loyalty in order to graduate leaders who are dedicated to a career of naval service and have potential for future development in mind and character to assume the highest responsibilities of command, citizenship and government.”