The Virginia Pilot’s Corinne Reilly reported on Sunday that the Navy is investigating a series of “raunchy” short movies “produced aboard the Norfolk-based aircraft carrier Enterprise in 2006 and 2007 and broadcast to its nearly 6,000 sailors and Marines.” The videos, developed by Capt. Owen Honors (then second-in-command and now the commander of the Enterprise), contain a shower scene, a simulated rectal exam, cross dressing, and gay slurs and were meant to entertain and release stress, crew members say. The Navy initially described the movies as “humorous skits focusing the crew’s attention on specific issues such as port visits, traffic safety, water conservation, ship cleanliness,” but later announced that it may take disciplinary action against Honors:
The sailors who spoke to the newspaper said it’s hard to believe that Honors’ superiors on board weren’t aware of the videos as soon as he began showing them in 2006, given that they were routinely broadcast for the entire crew.
“People talked about them,” the former ship videographer said. “People looked forward to them – at least the people who thought they were funny.”
A female sailor who was assigned to the Enterprise at the time said she and a number of other women on board were offended by the videos. She said some crew members complained about them, and in fact, Honors acknowledged it on camera. In one movie, he says, “Over the years I’ve gotten several complaints about inappropriate materials in these videos, never to me personally but, gutlessly, through other channels.”
Watch the videos:
A Facebook group in support of Honors describes the films as “extraordinarily funny” and argues that “Anyone viewing the video that was not onboard during the deployments with XO Honors is watching them out of context.” “The XO made the videos to address real shipboard issues in a comedic fashion,” another crew member said on Facebook. “The crew always looked forward to them. Do not sacrifice this officer on the altar of political correctness.” Military commentators speculate that Honors — who is preparing to deploy in the coming weeks — may be relieved of his command and could be forced into early retirement.
What’s unclear, however, is if the recent Congressional repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell will have any effect on how the Navy handles the investigation and if this kind of behavior — now that it’s been so publicly brought to the Navy’s attention — will change the way military implements repeal. Last month, Navy Chief Gary Roughead testified that the Navy is ready to lift the ban, but said that success of repeal will depend on “leadership, communication, training [and] education.” One wonders if Honors will be able to effectively lead in that effort and if the military’s “humor” will present any additional obstacles to lifting the ban. If anything, it will certainly prevent the kind of mass coming out that some supporters of the ban have predicted.
NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski is reporting that in the wake of controversial videos, Navy Cpt. Owen Honors will be temporarily relieved of his command of Enterprise.