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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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Captain Honors Morale booster or grounds for court martial.
Old 01-04-2011, 04:50 AM   #1
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Captain Honors Morale booster or grounds for court martial.

I am curious what people think should be done to Captain Honors, who is currently the Commander of the US Enterprise, due to the the raunchy videos he made?
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Old 01-04-2011, 05:25 AM   #2
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I chose "Other". Investigate first. We do not know the whole story yet.
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Old 01-04-2011, 06:34 AM   #3
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He probably has lost his career due to his lack of judgment. Regardless of how funny the video is to some, he should not have been involved with it.
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Old 01-04-2011, 07:07 AM   #4
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I voted "Other," also -- for the same reason. I am, at this point, influenced by the 1,400(plus?) folks, who have come forward and who served under him, that consider him to have been a very good officer... if not the best.
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Old 01-04-2011, 07:42 AM   #5
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Also voted "other". The videos should be viewed in their entirety to establish the context.

That said, the phrase "What was he thinking?" comes to mind. Presumably, stupid people do not rise to the rank of XO on an aircraft carrier so the videos are an incongruity.
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Old 01-04-2011, 08:19 AM   #6
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Was the video content usual for those types of things?
In the work place sexual and political topics should not be encouraged.
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Old 01-04-2011, 08:33 AM   #7
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Was the video content usual for those types of things?
In 1965 - yes (if there had been video). In 2005 - no, definitely not.

Heck, way back in the 1970's the AF made us drop our squadron's "Tanker Pilots do it with Longer Hoses" motto.
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Old 01-04-2011, 08:56 AM   #8
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I voted for "relieve him" and witchhunt track down his old supervisors who allowed this behavior to go unaddressed.

Court-martial is unnecessary-- this is exactly what Admiral's Mast is for. Send him into a room with a few of his chain of command and have the convening admiral issue him a letter of reprimand (which should have been done three or four years ago). Then issue Honors his retirement orders and let him start a new career with Holly Graf as a motivational speaker.

Tactically and from a leadership perspective, I don't care if he's the reincarnation of John Paul Jones & Arleigh Burke. In my 30 years around the Navy this guy's behavior is so far outside the "Doesn't get it" lifelines that he's a disaster looking for more places to blow up the Navy's reputation.

He had his chance-- did he learn nothing from Tailhook? It's not well known that there were actually a series of incidents at earlier Tailhook conventions well before the revelations of "the scandal". Back then the aviation admirals had a number of "come to Jesus" meetings and, among themselves, declared the matter fixed. That quickly unraveled. I bet the media is submitting a huge stack of FOIA requests for the Tailhook depositions and scouring them for Honors' name.

In another 1990s case, a senior O-6 had sexually harassed one of his staff. Following the approved practice of the times, she reported his behavior and negotiated an appropriate private resolution. But then he was selected for flag officer, and it turned out she had been given the impression that his career was over. The resulting issue was tried all over again in the court of public opinion, and the Navy suffered for the impression of trying to sweep it under the rug the first time.

I suspect that when Honors pulled these stunts in 2006-07, someone did complain vigorously enough to have the matter investigated. Honors probably got a wrist-slap, maybe an unofficial oral reprimand, and was told to go forth & sin no more. Meanwhile those who originally complained about his behavior were probably told that "the matter has been addressed". When those people saw that he'd returned to the carrier as CO, they probably felt that the matter had not been adequately addressed and decided to go to the media.

When Tailhook became public I was on an admiral's staff, and he held a kinder/gentler version of a "come to Jesus" meeting. He said something along the lines of "The Navy has tolerated a certain culture as its image for a number of decades. If you're the kind of person who's against homosexuals and women in the service, and who even makes jokes and slurs about them, then you're a product of our culture. If you're the kind of person who likes to pull into a liberty port, get roaring drunk and trash a bar, then spend the night with prostitutes, I'm not here to judge you or your behavior. We created this culture and we have to live with the results. But I can tell you that we're about to change our culture, and if you're one of those people then your days are numbered." That was nearly 20 years ago.

There are a number of "interesting" side issues here. First, the carrier's previous CO and the two flag officers are responsible for the climate that let the XO get away with this. (They weren't ignorant of his actions, no matter how much they may have pretended to be. I'm sure there was as much laughter in the flag quarters as there was in the wardroom, the chief's quarters, and the crew's mess.) Based on the senior officer's actions (or lack thereof), their judgment is not suitable for taking over from guys like Roughead and Mullen. At a minimum they should be retired. It's worth noting that one guy is already a vice admiral only four years later-- and even worse, with a name like Holloway he's probably related to the famous CNO and the previous generation's WWII hero.

Next, the carrier is getting ready to deploy. The ship's current XO (unfortunately "trained" by Honors) would hopefully be ready to handle all the deployment things that a CO and XO have to be able to do, but he's going to also have to carry a new CO who might or might not be up on the details. It's not easy to pluck a CO from the ranks of the aviators who've already completed nuclear power training and all the other briefings/exercises necessary for them to understand what they're getting into. This is going to screw up carrier CO rotations for about two years, or they might have to "re-tour" a guy who needs a little more help selecting for flag officer.

ENTERPRISE is the Navy's first nuclear carrrier and has what today could be charitably termed as a disaster of a design. Some of her reactors might even have been placed permanently out of commission, and I'm pretty sure all of them are radiation nightmares. Naval Reactors needs a strong Engineer to keep it all under control, and a CO who's savvy on the real environmental & public-relations threats of gallivanting around the oceans with that fragile infrastructure. I'm not sure Honors has the kind of TV experience the Navy wants to put in charge of this challenge.

I should point out that Honors is my spouse's USNA classmate, although we never personally knew him. I can also attest that this is reason #43 not to smile for your official Navy photo. It's all too easy to put a caption underneath his that says "Hi, I'm a homophobe and a misogynist who jokes about bestiality, but I'm just happy to be here!!"
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Old 01-04-2011, 09:17 AM   #9
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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.
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Old 01-04-2011, 09:35 AM   #10
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Looks like the Navy is having him star in another video...
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File Type: jpg navy honors commander.jpg (25.6 KB, 5 views)
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Old 01-04-2011, 11:01 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by REWahoo View Post
In 1965 - yes (if there had been video). In 2005 - no, definitely not.

Heck, way back in the 1970's the AF made us drop our squadron's "Tanker Pilots do it with Longer Hoses" motto.
Has anyone noticed that we stopped winning wars about when we started cleaning everything up?

Correlation?

Causation?

Who needs to win wars as long as we are PC?
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Old 01-04-2011, 11:21 AM   #12
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Once upon a time there were wooden ships and iron men.

Some years ago it was decreed that DIs (drill instructors) had to be polite to recruits.

Soon the the military will be pencil pushers and polite folks.

Good luck to all. The PC (politically correct) crowd then can defend themselves with their wit an polite discussions, which the barbarians have neither patience or time for.
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Old 01-04-2011, 11:33 AM   #13
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Leadership involves setting and achieving objectives and also standards, for which there is no room for compromise. Captain Honors appears to have excelled in the former and failed in the latter. His experience and abilities make him still a valuable member of the US Navy, and hopefully he will continue to contribute, but he no longer is eligible to hold positions of leadership.

A leader must set standards, meet them, and also show that they are being met. This has always been especially important in the Armed Forces because so much is asked of its members. This failure is not egregious but is it unacceptable. It is not about society, or political correctness, it is about leadership.
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Old 01-04-2011, 11:34 AM   #14
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Once upon a time there were wooden ships and a iron men.

Some years ago it was decreed that DIs (drill instructors) had to be polite to recruits.

Soon the the military will be pencil pushers and polite folks.

Good luck to all. The PC (politically correct) crowd then can defend themselves with their wit an polite discussions, which the barbarians have neither patience or time for.
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.
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Old 01-04-2011, 11:35 AM   #15
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+1 Nords & MichaelB
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Old 01-04-2011, 11:36 AM   #16
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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" 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.
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Old 01-04-2011, 12:01 PM   #17
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Ziggy29's discussion is good. My view, the military of the US must follow the dictat of the civilian leadership. As the civilian leadership progresses toward PC they direct the military to do the same.

Polite Pushbutton wars can only only go so far. While they can level the landscape while sitting in an easy chair, via remote control, or 30000 feet up in a bomber, or 100' below the surface in a sub launching whatever. Ultimate victory over the enemy is only achieved by up close and personal contact.

Yeah I know about Hiroshima etc. That only works if the defender has material stuff to preserve.

That up close contact is unlikely to be a discussion of Nietzsche or Kant let alone St Thomas Aquinas. It is ugly nasty and bloody.

In time those who can and are willing to do the dirty work will decline to be the tools of panty waists. And will let the polite folks fend for themselves.


So in sum, discipline the good captain, say, write hundred times on the black board --- don't get caught stupid, and carry on.
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Old 01-04-2011, 12:04 PM   #18
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Done deal:

Relieved of Command, USS Enterprise Commander Capt. Owen Honors Was Popular and Successful Before Raunchy Videos Surfaced - ABC News
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Old 01-04-2011, 12:12 PM   #19
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My view, the military of the US must follow the dictat of the civilian leadership. As the civilian leadership progresses toward PC they direct the military to do the same.
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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Old 01-04-2011, 12:25 PM   #20
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As Nords knows a LOT more than I ever did about Navy... he has a good post...

Me... I think I voted the same as him... for similar reasons... to me what he did was not correct for a high level officer... and in this time and place.. and since it was allowed by others, they should answer for them allowing it to be tolerated...


An example would be sexual harrassment... I think everybody knows that it should not be done... and companies now crack down even on the CEOs who do it... sure, this was not the case 10 years ago... but times change and so do the way people have to act...

So, I think he should be allowed to retire... the people who promoted him (if they knew about the film) should also be allowed to retire... I am sure all of them have plenty of years in service...
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