USA — Navy Relieves Enterprise Captain for ‘Poor Judgment’

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)

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