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View Poll Results: If I was in charge of the Navy I'd discipline Captain Honors
Slap him on the wrist and tell him to get better joke writer 8 15.09%
Relieve him of command 19 35.85%
Court Martial him 2 3.77%
Discipline the Captain and/or Admirals who also knew about the videos 19 35.85%
Other 11 20.75%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 53. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 01-04-2011, 12:26 PM   #21
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In my view, it is quite possible to be a "lean mean fighting machine" without also being lewd and juvenile.
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Old 01-04-2011, 12:49 PM   #22
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In my view, it is quite possible to be a "lean mean fighting machine" without also being lewd and juvenile.
I most certainly agree. The question is, at what point does the military value not being "lewd and juvenile" more than it values being an extremely effective soldier and officer? Wherever that line is, it appears the Powers That Be believe that this line was crossed here.
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Old 01-04-2011, 01:04 PM   #23
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I think the Navy did value Capt. Honors' abilities enough to overlook his stupid behavior in the videos, since he was given command notwithstanding the fact that his superiors apparently knew about them. But the minute it hit the papers, he was history. That's the way it goes, and someone as smart as he probably is should have realized that (as should his superiors). Now they all look stupid.
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Old 01-04-2011, 01:16 PM   #24
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The military is not a social program. Having said that, I believe the military should reflect a nation's social and cultural values to the extent that it does not reduce its effectiveness.
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In my view, it is quite possible to be a "lean mean fighting machine" without also being lewd and juvenile.
Listen to Gumby. I think you guys who are despairing of the military's "social experimentation" and "PC-ness" are missing the historical perspective.

The military has been a crucible for social change, not a laboratory, all the way back to the Revolutionary War. Minorities were in ranks with the colonials, and felt entitled to the same rights as new American citizens-- even if they were Irish or Scots. (Remember the book "How the Irish Became White"?) During the Civil War, the military of both sides offered considerable incentives to African-Americans to "integrate" them into the fighting. When racial minorities were sent overseas in WWI and WWII it became quite clear to them that they were treated far better in Europe & Asia than in the South and the rest of America. A huge African-American migration resulted in WWII from the South to North-central America, especially Chicago & Detroit, as part of labor the war machine.

If PC had been a word in 1948 then Truman would have been accused of being so. Women broke the military's glass ceiling far sooner, and in proportionally greater numbers, than on Wall Street or in much of industry.

Look at how the military accelerates citizenship approval for its immigrant servicemembers. If you're an American fighter then it's probably appropriate to have a piece of paper proclaiming that you're an American citizen.

Of course not all parts of the military are joyously leading the charge to social integration. I once listened to a SECNAV describe the submarine force as "a bunch of dinosaurs-- the last bastion of male WASP Republicans who would soon be extinct if they didn't change their ways". I listened to submarine admirals explain with sincere & earnest expressions why women couldn't be exposed to ionizing radiation from submarine nuclear reactors (despite the women doing so on aircraft carriers) or be at sea on submarines due to the emergency MEDEVAC risk of an ectopic pregnancy (despite my having just arranged a submariner's MEDEVAC for a ruptured appendix with even less warning).

My spouse and I have served with a number of homosexuals (that we knew of) and possibly many more. No one gives a damn what turns you on as long as you're willing to kill people, break things, and (oh, yeah) support a watchbill. I'm delighted that women are joining the submarine force (especially if my daughter chooses to do so) while acknowledging that I would have not wanted to compete for promotion against someone who's more motivated and more qualified. Especially my spouse, who's also smarter.

In the military the urban legends HAVE to be researched & debunked. Racial genetics has not been proven to affect on-the-job performance. Sexual preference doesn't appear to affect it either, despite the homophobic concerns of a minority of (professed) heterosexuals in combat units. There are significant gender differences, and whaddyaknow it turns out that women tend to have faster reflexes and make better judgments than their male counterparts. Not all women, and not all men, but enough to make a statistically-significant difference.

About the only male military advantage is the fact that testosterone speeds muscle repair and injury recovery. Having said that, both genders have a bell curve of testosterone levels-- my nephew the Army Ranger tells me that it's been shown some women can still kick the asses of male Rangers in performance, stamina, and endurance.

As for fighting the barbarians, it's been proven many times that diplomacy is cheaper than warfare. There are many alternatives to actual combat, but once you start fighting you can't go looking for "offramps". As much as I may have difficulty perceiving the necessity of all forms of Pax Americana imperialism, I'd much rather do it "over there" than "over here".

Those of you who think the military has been hampered since Vietnam have clearly never experienced the transition from conscription to volunteer forces. Even in 1979 we were dealing with the overhang of the Vietnam "hollow force", and its drug culture persisted well into the 1980s. I don't know any military servicemembers or veterans with a few gray hairs who would want to go back to the "good ol' days"...
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Old 01-04-2011, 01:16 PM   #25
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I think the Navy did value Capt. Honors' abilities enough to overlook his stupid behavior in the videos, since he was given command notwithstanding the fact that his superiors apparently knew about them. But the minute it hit the papers, he was history. That's the way it goes, and someone as smart as he probably is should have realized that (as should his superiors). Now they all look stupid.
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Old 01-04-2011, 01:26 PM   #26
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Listen to Gumby. I think you guys who are despairing of the military's "social experimentation" and "PC-ness" are missing the historical perspective.

The military has been a crucible for social change, not a laboratory, all the way back to the Revolutionary War. Minorities were in ranks with the colonials, and felt entitled to the same rights as new American citizens-- even if they were Irish or Scots. (Remember the book "How the Irish Became White"?) During the Civil War, the military of both sides offered considerable incentives to African-Americans to "integrate" them into the fighting. When racial minorities were sent overseas in WWI and WWII it became quite clear to them that they were treated far better in Europe & Asia than in the South and the rest of America. A huge African-American migration resulted in WWII from the South to North-central America, especially Chicago & Detroit, as part of labor the war machine.

If PC had been a word in 1948 then Truman would have been accused of being so. Women broke the military's glass ceiling far sooner, and in proportionally greater numbers, than on Wall Street or in much of industry.

Look at how the military accelerates citizenship approval for its immigrant servicemembers. If you're an American fighter then it's probably appropriate to have a piece of paper proclaiming that you're an American citizen.

Of course not all parts of the military are joyously leading the charge to social integration. I once listened to a SECNAV describe the submarine force as "a bunch of dinosaurs-- the last bastion of male WASP Republicans who would soon be extinct if they didn't change their ways". I listened to submarine admirals explain with sincere & earnest expressions why women couldn't be exposed to ionizing radiation from submarine nuclear reactors (despite the women doing so on aircraft carriers) or be at sea on submarines due to the emergency MEDEVAC risk of an ectopic pregnancy (despite my having just arranged a submariner's MEDEVAC for a ruptured appendix with even less warning).

My spouse and I have served with a number of homosexuals (that we knew of) and possibly many more. No one gives a damn what turns you on as long as you're willing to kill people, break things, and (oh, yeah) support a watchbill. I'm delighted that women are joining the submarine force (especially if my daughter chooses to do so) while acknowledging that I would have not wanted to compete for promotion against someone who's more motivated and more qualified. Especially my spouse, who's also smarter.

In the military the urban legends HAVE to be researched & debunked. Racial genetics has not been proven to affect on-the-job performance. Sexual preference doesn't appear to affect it either, despite the homophobic concerns of a minority of (professed) heterosexuals in combat units. There are significant gender differences, and whaddyaknow it turns out that women tend to have faster reflexes and make better judgments than their male counterparts. Not all women, and not all men, but enough to make a statistically-significant difference.

About the only male military advantage is the fact that testosterone speeds muscle repair and injury recovery. Having said that, both genders have a bell curve of testosterone levels-- my nephew the Army Ranger tells me that it's been shown some women can still kick the asses of male Rangers in performance, stamina, and endurance.

As for fighting the barbarians, it's been proven many times that diplomacy is cheaper than warfare. There are many alternatives to actual combat, but once you start fighting you can't go looking for "offramps". As much as I may have difficulty perceiving the necessity of all forms of Pax Americana imperialism, I'd much rather do it "over there" than "over here".

Those of you who think the military has been hampered since Vietnam have clearly never experienced the transition from conscription to volunteer forces. Even in 1979 we were dealing with the overhang of the Vietnam "hollow force", and its drug culture persisted well into the 1980s. I don't know any military servicemembers or veterans with a few gray hairs who would want to go back to the "good ol' days"...
Well put.
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Old 01-04-2011, 01:30 PM   #27
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I don't think a "more PC military" is a reason why there's been less decisive butt-kickings in military endeavors since Vietnam, but I think it's a related issue to what I think is the cause. We seem to think "being nice" to the enemy will make them like us and stop doing globally unacceptable things. We seem to think that if "the enemy" are people of color, that there is a racist motive. We're becoming a society that doesn't accept that there are winners and losers, whether in war, in life, in Little League. Total war requires a winner and a loser.

In short, I think we've waged war with one hand tied behind the military's back since the 1960s. I don't think they are allowed to do what might need to be done to ensure total, decisive victory. I don't think the military becoming "kinder and gentler" is the direct reason for that, but is a side-effect of societal attitude shifts in general. We are in some ways being "wussified" as a society into thinking that conflict is always avoidable, and it is spilling over into all aspects of our society and culture, including the armed forces.

Plus, how we define "PC" changes over time with cultural values. At one point in history, Truman's order to desegregate the military could have been seen this way, but few today would suggest this was a bad idea that was caving into well-intentioned but misguided desire for social progress in the civilian world.
The USA wants to be liked. Also, we in the USA identify with the citizen of the enemy country but not the leaders. Part of that is our history and part is the culture of 'victimization' from the 60's - e.g. it isn't the criminal's fault he is a criminal; he is a victim or XYZ or a drug addict does not help support Mexican drug violence; the addict is just a victim of his addiction.
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Old 01-04-2011, 01:53 PM   #28
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Listen to Gumby. I think you guys who are despairing of the military's "social experimentation" and "PC-ness" are missing the historical perspective.

The military has been a crucible for social change, not a laboratory, all the way back to the Revolutionary War. ...

Those of you who think the military has been hampered since Vietnam have clearly never experienced the transition from conscription to volunteer forces. Even in 1979 we were dealing with the overhang of the Vietnam "hollow force", and its drug culture persisted well into the 1980s. I don't know any military servicemembers or veterans with a few gray hairs who would want to go back to the "good ol' days"...
Thanks. I recall the same discussions going on within the Navy back then, and nobody seemed to be interested in returning to the Good Old Days. (I'm convinced that the Good Old Days people like to refer to never really happened, and are largely an artifact of selective memory and the fog of time.)
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Old 01-04-2011, 01:55 PM   #29
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Just got back from the coffee shop, where I read on the Pittsburgh paper's front page.

Peace deal brokered. The marine commandant in southern Afghanistan has announced a truce for money in Helmand province. Paying Taliban not to fight.

My perspective: A truce rented for a time being. In Afghanistan since time immemorial friendship and alliance could be rented, for a fee, for a short time.


Edit: deleted previous last line, A bit too harsh it was.
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Old 01-04-2011, 01:56 PM   #30
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Within the first week or so of being inducted into the U.S. Naval Academy, I was required to memorize this letter by John Paul Jones:

Qualifications of a Naval Officer

It is by no means enough that an officer of the Navy should be a capable mariner. He must be that, of course, but also a great deal more. He should be as well a gentleman of liberal education, refined manners, punctilious courtesy, and the nicest sense of personal honor.

He should be the soul of tact, patience, justice, firmness, kindness, and charity. No meritorious act of a subordinate should escape his attention or be left to pass without its reward, even if the reward is only a word of approval. Conversely, he should not be blind to a single fault in any subordinate, though at the same time, he should be quick and unfailing to distinguish error from malice, thoughtfulness from incompetency, and well meant shortcomings from heedless or stupid.

In one word, every commander should keep constantly before him the great truth, that to be well obeyed, he must be perfectly esteemed.


I'm absolutely certain that Capt. Honors was required to do the same. Keeping it in mind may have led him to different actions.
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Old 01-04-2011, 02:08 PM   #31
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I think the Navy did value Capt. Honors' abilities enough to overlook his stupid behavior in the videos, since he was given command notwithstanding the fact that his superiors apparently knew about them. But the minute it hit the papers, he was history. That's the way it goes, and someone as smart as he probably is should have realized that (as should his superiors). Now they all look stupid.
But to me, this is even worse. "It's okay unless it gets leaked"? Either it's wrong or it's not, IMO.
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Old 01-04-2011, 02:24 PM   #32
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But that's the way they roll in the admirals club -- they will forgive certain things in private, but they will disavow all knowledge once it becomes public.

It was unclear whether your question related to my position here -- my position is that: 1) He is a product of a unique culture and I understand how it could happen; 2) but it was both stupid and wrong for him to act that way; 3) although I don't think it "should" have resulted in him being relieved of command; 4) however, both he and the admirals should have known that it might become public and, when it did, the public would demand his head, even if the admirals didn't.

It is a tragedy all around.
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Old 01-04-2011, 02:26 PM   #33
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What bothers me more than the video (which, rightly or wrongly, was done with the consent of his CO to boost the morale of the troops and seemed to have the desired effect for the majority them, by all accounts) is that "someone" with an axe to grind waited four years for him to get his command to bring this up again..Did Captain Honors screw up in 2006? Probably. Is he getting screwed in 2011? Royally, IMO.
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Old 01-04-2011, 02:29 PM   #34
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It was unclear whether your question related to my position here -- my position is that: 1) He is a product of a unique culture and I understand how it could happen; 2) but it was both stupid and wrong for him to act that way; 3) although I don't think it "should" have resulted in him being relieved of command; 4) however, both he and the admirals should have known that it might become public and, when it did, the public would demand his head, even if the admirals didn't.
No argument with any of this. I agree with all four of these points. It just smells a little funny when discipline only comes when you can't keep it hush-hush any more.
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Old 01-04-2011, 02:51 PM   #35
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I'm not a military guy, but I spent a fair number of years in management. My experience there was that when you hold a fair number of your subordinates in open contempt, it undermines morale for the entire organization. Those held in contempt plot against you and those in the majority take it as license to bully others. I think this guy planted his seeds and reaped his reward.
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Old 01-04-2011, 02:56 PM   #36
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As I recall the Navy (over 25 years ago), people were cheerfully profane. The swearing had no particular meaning; it was just an everyday part of speech. The humor was juvenile (and not really all that humorous). More darkly, the Navy in those days was institutionally misogynistic and homophobic, and there was a shocking amount of barely subdued racism. Even if you were none of these things personally, you were surrounded by them every day. In this respect, it is helpful to understand that being in the Navy is a life-encompassing endeavor. It is very difficult to separate home and work, particularly when you spend literally years of your life at sea and on the job 24/7. Even when you are in port, it is highly likely that you associate almost exclusively with other Navy guys. The Navy "culture" becomes the reference point for all that you know and all that you do.

So, I understand the culture in which Capt. Honors "came of age" professionally (he was 2 years behind me at USNA). I'm sure his antics on the videos were done solely to raise morale and not out of any sense of animus toward anyone. Their tone and content is merely a product of the environment in which he had lived and worked for almost 30 years at that point. I'm equally sure he was a good XO and is probably a good skipper.

However (and it's a big however), as with society at large, the Navy has changed and will continue to change. It is not too much to expect that someone who has become an O-6 would have enough sense to recognize those changes and modify his behavior accordingly (especially on tape). I think it showed a decided lack of judgment on his part.

I personally do not feel that this lapse should result in his removal from command, but I think that it is almost inevitable at this point. It is a truly unfortunate way to cap what has otherwise been a stellar career.

Being a career Air Force guy, I wouldn't normally admit agreeing with any Navy puke, but in this case, I am in agreement with Gumby. Now...I think I feel somewhat ill..
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Old 01-04-2011, 03:17 PM   #37
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For you SWOs who belong to SailorBob.com (and if you understand those last seven words then you know of which I speak): the Honors thread is the #1 topic with 374 responses. In fact the server was barely keeping up with the demand, and two new pages scrolled up faster than I could read the first 13 of them.

For those of you who can't join SailorBob.com, I learned some interesting scuttlebutt facts over there, some of which are suitable for release on this discussion board:
- The initial SITREP was quickly upgraded to an OPREP-3 NAVY BLUE due to the publicity. It's never a good day when the Navy's National Military Command Center calls you to tell you to upgrade your SITREP like that.
- "Headshot FITREP". Never heard that term before, but I like it!
- "Don't-be-stupid standdowns". Never heard that term before either, but it's undoubtedly going to happen.
- "Don't ask, don't tell, don't care, now get back to work." Haven't heard this one in a while.
- XOs throughout the fleet are asking: "Where did $#%^ did Honors find the time to misbehave like this?"
- One of Honors' old COs retired last month (probably not related to this incident) but the two supervisors are in the spotlight. There are rumors of at least one other senior officer appearing briefly in the videos.
- One of the videos shows someone wearing nuclear anti-contamination clothing ("canary suit"). Now Naval Reactors has another reason to intervene.
- As if having NR on your back isn't bad enough, Honors apparently snarked severely about the Navy's Board of Inspection & Survey. You know we've all fantasized about doing that, but geez...
- The "cult of personality" phrase is being used to describe those who defend Honors.

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But that's the way they roll in the admirals club -- they will forgive certain things in private, but they will disavow all knowledge once it becomes public.
- And last but not least, this is the time of year when the Navy's promotion board selects officers for admiral and starts sending the list up the chain of command for assessment. I don't know when the board met or who has "the list", but one rumor is that this scandal was broken by someone who was afraid that Honors would promote to flag. Of course it's far more likely that the scandal was broken by someone who just didn't want to deploy with the guy, or for a number of other timing reasons.

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I'm not a military guy, but I spent a fair number of years in management. My experience there was that when you hold a fair number of your subordinates in open contempt, it undermines morale for the entire organization. Those held in contempt plot against you and those in the majority take it as license to bully others. I think this guy planted his seeds and reaped his reward.
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In one word, every commander should keep constantly before him this great truth, that to be well obeyed, he must be perfectly esteemed.”
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Being a career Air Force guy, I wouldn't normally admit agreeing with any Navy puke, but in this case, I am in agreement with Gumby. Now...I think I feel somewhat ill..
We're just passing the flaming... um... hot potato from one service to the next...

M_Paquette, Gumby, more rumor is that NR is particularly displeased at this start to what was to have been the ENTERPRISE's last deployment before decommissioning. Apparently ENT COs get a special NR closed-door briefing on the "special issues" for that ship, and many years were invested in the pipeline that a guy like Honors went through to get to CO of that particular ship.

Reading that much SailorBob.com in one shot is going to give me nightmares. I don't miss that stuff one bit.
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Old 01-04-2011, 03:34 PM   #38
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M_Paquette, Gumby, more rumor is that NR is particularly displeased at this start to what was to have been the ENTERPRISE's last deployment before decommissioning. Apparently ENT COs get a special NR closed-door briefing on the "special issues" for that ship, and many years were invested in the pipeline that a guy like Honors went through to get to CO of that particular ship.
One can only imagine the thermonuclear blast emanating from Crystal City if Admiral Rickover were still there.
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Old 01-04-2011, 03:35 PM   #39
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I think it showed a decided lack of judgment on his part.

I personally do not feel that this lapse should result in his removal from command,
I would think that good judgment should be the #1 qualification for the XO of an aircraft carrier, and any indication of a lack of good judgment would be a good reason to get someone else for the job.
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Old 01-04-2011, 03:48 PM   #40
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I guess I'm getting old, but this video just doesn't bother me much. I've been subjected to some pretty raunchy crap over 33 military years, and maybe I'm just shock proof now, but it seems pretty mild to me. From a self-preservation standpoint, I'd agree the XO torpedoed his own career due to the touchy-feely, don't offend or hurt anybody's feelings mentality that's crossed over from the polite civilian world to the military domain that he certainly must be aware of, but when it comes down to it, I'd prefer my military to be a little more on the rough, rude & nasty side than nice, sweet & in touch with their polite side. Yeah, I know I'm in the minority around here on this, but hey...that's me. Carry on...
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