A Pentagon spokesperson did not return a request for comment.
Modly, who fired the ship’s captain, Captain Brett Crozier, last Thursday, was forced to apologize to the crew after appealing Crozier’s decision to send a letter asking for help to a wide range “naive” and “stupid” Navy personnel. ”
Modly’s remarks, which the sailors recorded and leaked to the media on Monday, prompted more than a dozen congressmen to call for Modly’s resignation.
“I apologize to the Navy for my recent comments to the crew of the TR,” Modly said in a statement Monday evening. “Let’s be clear, I don’t think Captain Brett Crozier is naive or stupid. I think, and always believed it to be the opposite. “
The senior defense official said that when Modly made his comments to the crew, the Naval Academy graduate and former helicopter pilot “returned to his roots as a sailor.”
“He left his time in uniform to color his comments,” said the official. “Having seen the level of effort that was required, he wanted to be very direct with the crew. “
The apology came just hours after Modly doubled down on her remarks, issuing a statement saying he stood “by every word.”
The unrest began after an epidemic of virus forced the Roosevelt, which was deployed to the Pacific, to dock in Guam and begin quarantining the ship’s sailors. Crozier sent the letter asking for help from Navy management on March 30 and Modly fired Crozier three days later for his decision to send the letter to multiple Navy members rather than using official secure channels .