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Pentagon Won't Intercede in Lewd Navy Video Case -- for Now

3 years ago
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David Wood
Chief Military Correspondent
Defense Secretary Robert Gates will not step into the growing controversy over lewd videos made and aired on the carrier USS Enterprise by a senior naval officer, a Pentagon spokesman said Monday.
The videos, which contain scenes of mock masturbation, a mock anal exam with a stick, gay-bashing and foul language featuring the F-bomb, were made by Capt. Owen Honors, a highly regarded naval officer who currently commands the Enterprise.
That kind of performance from a senior officer is "disappointing,'' Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a brief interview Monday. But Mullen stressed that he hadn't "seen all the facts.''
The videos were made in 2006 and 2007 and were obtained and made public Sunday by the Virginian-Pilot newspaper in Norfolk, Va., where the carrier is home-ported. At the time the videos were made, Honors was the ship's executive officer, effectively the second in command. The videos were shown on the ship's closed-circuit television channel.

Watch the edited video: wavy.com

Along with some 5,000 male and female sailors aboard the Enterprise at the time were the ship's skipper, now Rear Adm. Larry Rice, as well as a senior admiral in charge of the naval task force of seven warships that sailed with the carrier. In 2006 and 2007 that position was held by Rear Adm. Daniel P. Holloway, currently commander of the Navy's 2nd Fleet, and by Rear Adm. Raymond A. Spicer, who currently serves on the naval staff.
The Navy has said the videos "were not acceptable then and are not acceptable in today's Navy.'' But it has taken no action against Honors or others in the naval chain of command other than to announce that an investigation into the incident has been initiated.
Silence on the issue also reigned at the Pentagon, where a senior spokesman, Marine Col. Dave Lapan, said Gates has not gotten involved in the issue. "There's a very senior chain of command in the Navy that will take the action they feel necessary,'' Lapan said Monday. Lapan said that Gates, to his knowledge, had not expressed his views on the videos.
Honors, 49, is a 1983 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. He was given command of the Enterprise in May, a highly prized assignment given that the Navy has only 11 carriers.
Last year at least 12 commanders were relieved of duty for "inappropriate'' behavior or other causes.
In this case, however, many in the Navy community have come to Honors' defense.
On one blog, a veteran wrote: "When we were out for extended periods and those 12 and 12s [duty hours] were starting to make tempers short, the officers would do things to lighten the load a bit. It's nothing new on a carrier to have some skits on the ships tv system that landlubbers would find offensive but sailors wouldn't. . . . This is a prime example of an over reaction by the politically correct crowd. Some day they'll get their collective heads out of their rear ends.''

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105 Comments

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sgentilejr

Sometimes things have a way of working out for the best. My friend was working on the 108th floor of the World Trade Center a few months before it was destroyed. He was very upset that he was fired unfairly also. His being fired saved his life on 9/11/01.

January 05 2011 at 7:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
yorktown1979

Yeah, he's relived of Command!

January 04 2011 at 5:43 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to yorktown1979's comment
cscottscad

Yeah but still getting paid ove $100,000.00 per year for showing up for work. Says he won't retire.

February 03 2011 at 7:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Pete

This sounds like another example of battlefield humor taken out of its context. I find myself often taken as more unethical or less moral than I am due to my somewhat tainted battlefield humor.
But this is a reflection of the changing political quagmire our military is in at present. If this action had occurred during Tailhook and was being brought out of the closet now I would be more concerned. Unfortunately it appears this happened well into the 'disrespect no one' group-hug mentality we are currently embroiled in.
I can only hope that others take heed, in time, to not make similar mistakes, or at least destroy the evidence 8-).

Retiring from the Navy after 28+ years...just in time.

January 04 2011 at 4:18 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
joe

The Pentagon has no grounds to intercede because they cannot take action against Captain Honors for his disrespect of gays when the Pentagon presently has a rule in effect that does not allow gays to serve.

January 04 2011 at 12:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Barb

Did Capt. Owens commit a criminal act? Did he have kiddie porn on his computer or did he rape one of the women on his ship??? Leave the man alone to lead his men - he's been doing it for years and is well respected by the rank and file. So what if the videos offended someone - they could easily turn off the video with the flip of a switch. Let's get a sense of humor - it's a stressful job and everyone needs a little release!!!

January 04 2011 at 10:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jlet37

When the final results and determinations are in and made this will not be an excused action on the part of officers or leaders, military or civillian with knowledge of the activity who did not stop it or report it. Remember TAILHOOK.

January 04 2011 at 9:43 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
scruffstr

this is not the conduct of a captain or XO of a carrier. like it or not, the top brass are held to a different standard. in order to maintain discipline those in charge need to be respected. being "one of the guys" does not breed that respect. our submarine captain was one of the finest men i ever knew. he was loved and respected by the entire crew and would never have done something like that. now if one of the junior officers had made the movie, the captain might have tolerated it in front of the crew but would have talked to the particular officer about the appropriateness of it in private.

January 04 2011 at 9:32 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
nhpb

I support Capt Honors. Who should be surprised that a fighter jock has a fighter jock's humor? To paraphrase Allen West: There is a man who would carry gasoline cans through hell for those who serve under him. What Admiral who will be judging this man hasn't joked in the same vein? Reminds me of the scene in Casablanca when the Inspector was "shocked, positively shocked" to find gambling taking place. A Captain who has shown competence, dedication, loyalty and bravery should not be punished for simply busting chops. Grow a crust those who attack the Captain. It's a cruel world out there.

January 04 2011 at 9:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
halaurent

I believe that these were all adults on this ship. We Americans pretend that adults are not supposed to be sexual beings. These men and women were stuck on a ship and were just having fun. Yes, it was a little low brow - maybe a lot low brow, but then, sex is ridiculous and funny when you take it out of the realm of seriousness. And if you look at the gay slurs, well, that WAS the prevailing view at the time these videos were created. We can't judge yesterday's behavior by today's standards. Now, years after the fact, we suddenly want to use this to destroy a good man's career and reputation. All of you people who are clamoring for his discharge and disgrace are like the people in the Roman arena cheering for the Christians to be eaten by the lions.

I think our society is being run by the Puritans of old. We want to ignore the good Captain Honors has done in his career and judge him for one act of silliness - there was no intent to hurt anyone - perhaps a few gay feelings were damaged in the process - but I don't believe anyone was killed or injured in the making of this film.

January 04 2011 at 9:13 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
HoneyDip

Leadership! When we start excusing actions like this, It's time to pack it up. I am retired Navy & served on 4 ships (including a carrier) & when you have to go to this extreme to entertain, you really have the wrong people in charge. We have rules & regulations (as simple as that). If one person is offended , than that's too many. I wouldn't have any respect for an CO or XO that acts like this & forces everyone to watch. CC tv is on in every work space. For many of you, please serve first before you seriously comment on this.

January 04 2011 at 9:04 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

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