Jeff Craig, who recently retired from the Navy after serving as a captain, including a tour as second in command of the Roosevelt, worked extensively with Captain Crozier after attending the Naval Academy with him. Captain Crozier became a helicopter pilot, Mr. Craig said, earning a nickname that he retained even after he transitioned to flying jets and ultimately to commanding a carrier: Chopper.
“Chopper is one of the best people I have ever known, both professionally and personally,” Mr. Craig, who now works with Amazon’s air cargo division, said in an interview Sunday.
On Sunday, Captain Crozier was in quarantine in Guam, the American territory in the Pacific, dealing with a dry, raspy cough, say people who know him. At least 400 sailors from the Roosevelt who have tested negative for the virus are expected to be sent from the ship to hotels, joining 625 other sailors who have already tested negative.
It is not known when Captain Crozier’s diagnosis was made, or whether the Navy was aware of his infection when he was removed from command, if the medical results came before his punishment.
Friends and colleagues say Captain Crozier, 50, is at peace with a decision that most likely ended a career that vaulted him from the United States Naval Academy to the prestigious job as captain of one of the Navy’s 11 aircraft carriers.
Captain Crozier, a native of Santa Rosa, Calif., started his career flying helicopters. He was then accepted for an exceptionally rare transfer to fly fixed-wing jet aircraft, eventually rising to command an F/A-18 Hornet fighter squadron. From there, he began climbing the nearly decade-long pipeline to command an aircraft carrier.
Captain Crozier entered the Navy’s academically daunting nuclear power school to learn how to run the twin nuclear plants at the heart of a Nimitz-class carrier like the Theodore Roosevelt. Then, he served as the second in command of the carrier Ronald Reagan, and later as the top officer of the Blue Ridge, an amphibious command ship, in Yokosuka, Japan.