Panel: Carrier Commander Who Made Raunchy Videos Can Keep Serving

Originally published on August 24, 2011 12:58 pm

You remember Owen P. Honors? He was the commanding officer of the USS Enterprise who was relieved of command back in January after producing what even he said were offensive videos.

As Mark reported at the time, Honor's XO Movie Night videos were shown "to the 6,000 or so sailors and Marines aboard the Enterprise" and included "anti-gay slurs, simulated masturbation, the simulated eating of human excrement, a discussion of profanity and sexually-themed shower scenes..."

Well, a panel of Navy admirals ruled today that he could remain in service, the AP reports.

The Virginian Pilot reported earlier that the skipper faced some tough questions from the panel and he argued that the videos did not compromise his authority. About a dozen witnesses testified on his behalf.

The panel was weighing whether Honors should retire or continue serving.

The Pilot reports:

Honors has argued that the videos were used as a tool to boost morale and to communicate with the ship's young sailors.

Chief Warrant Officer John Gilbert, who served as maintenance officer on the Enterprise, said he often asked Honors to convey messages to the crew, and that whenever he did, it solved the problem at hand.

For example, after a string of bad plumbing backups, he asked Honors to make a video explaining what shouldn't be flushed down shipboard toilets.

"We'd do a video on it and bam, it's taken care of," Gilbert said, adding that sailors "ran to the TVs" to watch the Saturday night videos.

"I've never seen morale so high," he said.

Toward the end of the hearing, one admiral noted that he had not heard Honors say "unequivocally, 'I was wrong.'"

According to the Pilot, the closest Honors came to saying that was when he said if he knew now "that the videos would cost him his command and bring pain and distress to his family and colleagues," he would not have made them.

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