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Navy Relieves Enterprise Captain for ‘Poor Judgment’

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 4, 2011 – A Navy captain whose shipboard videos have made headlines since they surfaced in the media over the weekend has been relieved of his command for demonstrating poor judgment, a senior Navy officer announced today.

Capt. Owen Honors made the videos while serving as executive officer aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise in 2006 and 2007, and he had served as commander of the Enterprise for about seven months when he was relieved.

“The responsibility of the commanding officer for his or her command is absolute,” U.S. Fleet Forces commander Navy Adm. John C. Harvey Jr. said today in Norfolk, Va. “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.”

Honors’ video skits garnered global attention after the Virginian-Pilot newspaper published three of them and an accompanying story on its website Jan. 2. The videos include anti-gay slurs and depict male sailors in drag and female sailors showering together in a single stall.

The Enterprise crew viewed some of the videos on the ship’s closed-circuit television system while the vessel was deployed in 2006 and 2007 supporting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the newspaper’s reports.

“It is fact that as naval officers we are held to a higher standard,” Harvey said. “Those in command must exemplify the Navy’s core values of honor, courage and commitment, which we expect our sailors to follow. Our leaders must be above reproach, and our sailors deserve nothing less.”

Honors has been reassigned to administrative duties at Naval Air Force Atlantic.

Navy Capt. Dee Mewbourne will take command of USS Enterprise, Harvey said. The ship is scheduled to deploy in the coming weeks. Mewbourne commanded the carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower during two combat deployments supporting Operation Enduring Freedom, Harvey said. Mewbourne had been serving as chief of staff for Navy Cyber Forces, and was to assume command of the Enterprise this afternoon.

“We will support and work with Captain Mewbourne and the crew of Enterprise to keep them forward focused on their upcoming combat deployment. This is a difficult situation but the men and women of Enterprise are outstanding sailors who have completed a very challenging and comprehensive predeployment work-up period in a thoroughly professional manner. They are well-trained and I have full confidence in their readiness to execute all missions during their deployment,” Harvey said.

An investigation will continue on all aspects of the videos’ production, the admiral added, including the actions of other senior officers who knew of the videos and the actions they took in response.


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Navy Adm. John C. Harvey Jr.

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The opinions expressed in the following comments do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Defense.

1/5/2011 9:32:14 AM
As a retired officer, reflecting on my time in leadership positions, I always understood that personal integrity and character were the bedrock upon which leadership was built. Comments like this undermine that moral authority, and would he have been left in position, would have been a basis upon which every subsequent decision could be questioned. I have been privileged to work for some who likely played a role in this decision. I know it was not a recommendation or decision they made lightly, but I'm supremely confident that it was the right one. They have this retired officer's enthusiastic support.
- Frank, State College, PA

1/4/2011 8:36:24 PM
Dear Admiral, It is my opinion that the nature of releaving the Admiral of his duties does not warrent reasons for such actions. 1.) It's does not reflect actions,decisions,protection,safeguarding my country. 2.) High ranking Military official holding such positions don't come easy to come by. 3.) Military actions defending this country weren't at stake. What are you thinking?...... U.S. Chairman to Top Secret/Majority Twelve Committee Mr Antonio Moreno
- Antonio Moreno, West Coast

1/4/2011 7:03:22 PM
The whole DOD should be ashamed of relieving this man of his command. You have bowed down to the pressure of the media to destroy a mans career. Listen to the outcry of his mounting supporters, this man should be promoted. Let the first of you without guilt of the same crime throw the first stone.
- Steven James, Spokane WA

1/4/2011 6:51:49 PM
The man is guilty of defending our nation and raising the morale of his crew. He should be promoted, not punished. It's a sad day for our country when we lose a hero to PC.
- james gallagher , brooklyn ny

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