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January 04, 2011

It's Official: Navy Relieves CO Of USS Enterprise Over Videos

Obama calls the Eagles to congratulate them on giving dog killer Michael Vick a second chance but now his Navy commanders are going to trash the career of a decorated hero over some videos?

Hurt feelings and political correctness trump decades of honorable service and readiness for war. What could go wrong?

Adm. John C. Harvey announced Tuesday that he has permanently relieved Capt. Owen Honors as commanding officer of the aircraft carrier Enterprise for showing "exceptionally poor judgment" in producing and broadcasting a series of raunchy videos to his crew in 2006 and 2007.

Harvey, the four-star head of the Navy's Fleet Forces Command, said that Capt. Dee Mewbourne, former commander of the carrier Eisenhower, will take command of the ship today as Honors' permanent replacement. Mewbourne had been at Navy Cyber Forces Command.

This is kind of interesting because Enterprise COs generally have to go through extra nuclear propulsion training because of the unique reactors the 50 year old ship has. Has Mewbourne gone through that training or after all these years is tossed overboard because of some off color videos? (Yes, I know, the Chief Engineer really runs the reactor but this extra training was the norm, until today).

I will say this, Captain Honors was playing with fire and he seemed to know it. His disclaimers about his superiors not being held accountable for the content of the videos demonstrates he knew that. When you do that, sometimes you get burned.

As for Honors' superiors. They clearly had to know what was in these videos at the time they were played on Enterprise. CDRSalamander wants to know what they did/thought.

There can only be three answers by the Navy concerning these videos. “We” refers to the Flag Officer Community that leads our Navy – just to be clear.

1. We had no idea.
2. We knew and didn’t care.
3. We disapproved, counseled our Shipmate, corrective action taken with remediation, and we moved forward.

...For reasons best known to senior leadership, we now find ourselves looking at #1 or #2. As we know that #1 is an impossibility – that leads to #2.

Really? No – not in the Navy of 2010. I don’t buy #2 either. Well, wait – a 5% chance. I’ll give you 5%.

That brings us back to #3 – which is greatest problem of all if we are now going to take CAPT Honor from Command. If it were #1 we could all just facepalm and call stupid. If it were #2 or #3 then we don’t have stupid – we have malice and betrayal by an officer’s Chain of Command.

It is the height of moral corruption to tell someone what they are doing is OK one day, and then the next – to protect yourself - act as if it were horrible. It is just as morally corrupt to reprimand a person, provide corrective action, accept remediation – and then at a later date punish him again for the same act only harder; submit that person to double jeopardy for your own self-preservation.

Honors is being hung out to dry for something that was either fine with his then superiors or which he was duly critiqued for and allowed to move on in his career. Either way, this is ex post facto outrage and the senior leadership of the Navy has simply thrown a dedicated and decorated officer to the wolves.

Speaking of Honors' career...did you know he was essentially promoted twice after these videos were made? He remained at the same rank (Captain) but went from being Executive Officer of the Enterprise (the 2nd in command) to command his own ship, the USS Mount Whitney. In 2008 he led her into the middle of the Russia-Georgia war to provide relief supplies to the Georgians.

Oh and the Mount Whitney was recognized in 2008 and 2009 for outstanding retention. Honors was in command from January 2008-April 2009.

Again the Navy must have thought Honors performed at least at a satisfactory level because he was then returned to Enterprise as her CO and was thought fit to lead the ship into war.

All that gone because he ran his ship aground, got some of his sailors killed, made some off color jokes.

This kind of "offense" has to be weighed against the reality that we are a nation at war and Enterprise is shortly off to fight that war.

Any organization is going to want to protect its reputation. As I said to Slu in an email, there is more than one way to do that. Image if the Navy came out and said something like this.

"Yes, Captain Honors went a bit too far in trying to motivate and entertain his crew during a long and successful war patrol and we've spoken to him about that.

On the other hand, his nearly 30 years of otherwise impeccable service to this nation (list a bunch of great shit he's done), the support of so many of his superiors, peers and most impressively, men and women he has led, makes us think that on balance his talents and contributions vastly out weigh this one indiscretion.

Accordingly, Capt. Honors will continue to command USS Enterprise and the men and women he has trained with and prepared for their upcoming mission in support of our troops fighting in Afghanistan. We have every confidence that Capt. Honors has learned much from this situation and will be an even better officer and leader for it".

Imagine what officers, sailors and potential recruits would think about that Navy versus the one they are seeing on display today.

You can tell a lot about an organization by what it rewards and punishes. Feel free to draw your own conclusions about the current state of the US Navy.


Oh...the "Support Captain Honors" facebook page is over 10,000 likes strong.


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posted by DrewM. at 02:43 PM

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