Monday, January 3, 2011

Don't Ask Don't Tell about XO Movie Night

The Virginian-Pilot has published some "raunchy" videos made a few years back by Navy Captain Owen Honors, then the executive office of the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Enterprise. He became Captain of the Enterprise this past May, but somebody told on him, and now he has been temporarily relieved of duty pending an investigation.

If you want to watch, I won't tell. But, as Captain Honors is finding out, these may not be safe for work.

Will Captain Owen Honors now get drummed out of the U.S. Navy? The XO Movie Night video intros do seem to show that the Honors knew he was flaunting the rules:

"As usual the Admiral and the Captain have no idea about the contents of the video or movie this evening, and they should not be held accountable in any judicial setting."

But I think that is just part of the gag. So is the statement about "gutless" complaints not being made to the XO's face. The Huffington Post sees gay-bashing in some of the jokes, but I think they could just as easily be a subversive commentary against the old DADT policy. Captain Owens tells many of the sexually charged jokes on himself.

The USS Enterprise has a crew of 6,000, so this is comparable to a small town cable access channel. By that standard, these videos are funnier than anything you will see on CCTV or SCAT. And if they have to keep the language cleaner on SCAT, there are no children watching on the USS Enterprise.

This may feel like a waste of your taxpayer dollars, but the military has a long tradition of printing its own newspapers complete with comic and cartoon artists. Because entertaining the troops and imparting news and information with a touch of humor has long been understood as one of the best ways to build morale.

I do hope those calling for dismissal will at least thank Captain Honors for his service to the country. His official bio says he has more than 3,400 flight hours in 31 different types of aircraft with more than 700 landings on 15 different carriers, has flown 85 combat missions in three different wars, and has been awarded the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Joint Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medals, Meritorious Service Medal, and various campaign/unit awards.

Update 1/4/2011: The investigation did not take long and Captain Owen Honors was thrown overboard today (dare I say shit-canned?) by the commander of U.S. Fleet Forces, Admiral John C. Harvey Jr.:

"While Captain Honors' performance as commanding officer of USS Enterprise has been without incident, his profound lack of good judgment and professionalism while previously serving as executive officer on Enterprise calls into question his character and completely undermines his credibility to continue to serve effectively in command."

OK, "profound lack of good judgment and professionalism" and "undermines his credibility" are fair points on which one might agree or disagree but was it really necessary to impugn his character? Admiral Harvey has a master's degree from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, which will call into question his character in some people's minds.

Update 1/5/2011: The following was posted yesterday on a "We Support Captain O. P. Honors!" Facebook page by Lu Anne Honors. Assuming this was posted by the Captain's wife (we have no way to verify), that shows a lot of class:

"O.P. and I appreciate all of the support posted on this page. We are unable to comment further at this time due the ongoing investigation. Please give Capt. Mewborne your full support and focus your efforts on the upcoming deployment. You will be in our thoughts and prayers every day."

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