January 4th, 2011
11:19 AM ET

Navy officer to be relieved of his command, defense official says

Barbara Starr
CNN Pentagon Correspondent

Washington (CNN) - Navy Capt. Owen Honors, who produced profanity- and slur-laden videos while second in command of the USS Enterprise, has been relieved of his command of the ship, a senior defense official told CNN Tuesday.

Excerpts from the videos and descriptions of their content were first published Saturday by The Virginian-Pilot newspaper in Norfolk, Virginia.

The videos on the paper's website, reviewed by CNN, feature a man identified by two Navy officials and The Virginian-Pilot as Honors, who at the time was the executive officer, or second in command, of the aircraft carrier. He recently took command of the carrier, winning one of the most coveted assignments in the U.S. Navy, which has only 11 aircraft carriers.

Navy spokesman Cmdr. Chris Sims said the videos, which were shown to the crew of the Enterprise while on deployment supporting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007, are "inappropriate."

Honors is shown cursing along with other members of his staff in an attempt to demonstrate humor, according to the videos.

There are also anti-gay slurs, simulated sex acts, and what appear to be two female sailors in a shower together.

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soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Nick

    I think it's outrageous that he's been relieved of command ! He must be an outstanding officer in order to be given command of a nuclear powered aircraft carrier. There aren't many men entrusted with that enormous responsibility.

    I understand this is a warship and the officers need to held to the highest standards of conduct but I think these videos were taken out of context. I think they were intended for the crew only..... Nobody knows what life is like on a carrier during wartime operations except the crew.
    I think Honors was boosting morale.... Our entire society is becoming to PC ! Someone is always offended about something !

    At the time Honors was XO of the Enterprise. Nobody is talking about the former captain and what he thought of the videos. Did he find them offensive ? What if the former captain allowed them ? Should he get 20 lashed too ???

    Maybe the Navy should watch a few episodes of Family Guy and understand what people 18 to 35 think is funny.

    Captain Honors should be judged on his ability and not some comedy skits he did four years ago. I hope the Navy returns his command !

    January 5, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
  2. Lucea

    The raunchy video is 5 years old? Who authorized my precious tax payer money for that type of behavior? "I" do not authorize this behavior then and now! I do not pay for our men and women to join the military to secure a mate or fulfill their sex lives. It is obvious that they were "bored" to waist my tax payer money. I do not care that they are stationed on a ship, sub, bace etc. If that is their interest, they need to be fired and sent home to civilian life. Luc 01/2011

    January 4, 2011 at 8:08 pm |
  3. alice

    It's about time. What folks need to understand is that the video showed a person who disregards how others may feel. Regardless if it was meant to offend gays and lesbians he ould have been just as cruel with any ethic group. He is an officer and just like an employer he should have shown better judgement. If he was an employer of a company he could have been sued by an employee. And think of those folks who are gay or lesbian under his comand, how on earth are they going to feel taking orders from such of bigot. Good ridance its to bad that he will probably walk away with a large pension. I can only hope that one of these days one of hisa children saids to him, hey dad guess what I'm gay.

    January 4, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
  4. Gregory Kahn

    I am writing in response to the story about Captain Honors of the USS Enterprise. As a sailor who served on the Enterprise in 2006/07 when the videos were shown to the crew, I am absolutely disgusted about the firing of Captain Honors. So many people are quick to blast others for "non-p.c." behavior at every turn when no one takes into account military morale and the fact the Honors' skits were in line with the typical sense of humor of the average marine or sailor on that ship. If anyone would have thought his jokes were offensive, I truly believe someone would have spoken up 3 or 4 years ago when they first appeared. This is obviously a case of someone looking for his/her 15 minutes of fame with the ability to brag about getting someone that high up fired. The bottom line is that he was a funny guy. The crew used to flock to the mess decks where the clips were played just to watch them. If there was any officer on board that was unanimously liked and respected, it was Captain Honors.

    January 4, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  5. Paul Schultz

    What utter nonsense. The captain was obviously trying to relieve boredom and help morale on his ship. It appears that his shipmates were not scandalized,rather they appeared to have enjoyed his efforts. Why should a few blue-noses and politicians be allowed to wreck his career. He should be getting commendation rather than condemnation. I'll bet Mr.Putin is really laughing at us as we shoot ourselves in the foot.

    January 4, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
  6. Willard

    "Conduct unbecoming of an officer". Isn't that a charge within the laws of the military?
    Trying to uplift the morale of the soldiers onboard the ship Mr. Honors? REALLY??!!! Enlisted usually idolize their chain of command. A true mentor and leader would have used that time teaching something honorable to boost and uplift, instead he encouraged those under his command to break a covenant of the military. Thankfully the navy acknowledged the indescretion as they should have.

    January 4, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
  7. An Marie

    Shame to go overboard punishing a good officer. Lets use some common sense rather than hyped up public opinion. This is the Navy and it sounds like this guy is good for his seamen and morale. Give him a slap on the wrist and keep going.

    January 4, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
  8. Mike

    This isn't about DADT or political correctness. This is about a Navy Captain that failed to display sound leadership skills and good judgment. He is reported to have been told not to produce anymore videos and then disregarded that simple order by producing another video. As a Marine enlisted man and retired Naval Officer, I can state emphatically that the standards are high and the rules clear. As an aviator, he should have paid attention to the behavior displayed at Tail Hook and the ensuing investigation. He acted like an idiot. Many of his sailors will claim that he did this to increase morale. How many other ships had high morale sailing into harms way without their XO abdicating his leadership responsibilities?

    Those officers participating in the videos should be identified and, if still on active duty, should be issued a punitive letter – especially the "Judge" in one video (Ship's JAG) who should have known better and who is tasked with providing sound legal advice to the XO and CO.

    January 4, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
  9. David

    What was the rate of suicide, depression and other morale indicators aboard this vessel compared to other Naval vessels in theater during these SNL type XO video nights?

    January 4, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
  10. martin wnuk

    All professional positions require an individual to wear some sort of mask, a persona that separates the individual's personal and professional lives.

    Everybody has lapses in their lives but the commander of aircraft carrier has thousands of lives in his care (not to mention an incredible array of military firepower) and he has to live up to a higher standard.

    If he had merely tacitly condoned this relatively common shipboard activity, he might have survived. But this man took off the mask and tried to be "one of the boys." He actively participated in questionable activities and it's probably going to cost him his career.

    January 4, 2011 at 11:51 am |