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.
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)