NORFOLK, Va. - The former commander of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier who produced raunchy videos aboard the USS Enterprise can remain in the Navy despite a finding that he committed misconduct, a Navy panel ruled yesterday.
Captain Owen P. Honors let out a sigh of relief after the board of inquiry read its decision after months of uncertainty about his career largely came to a close. The board was deciding whether to recommend to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus that Honors be kicked out of the Navy after nearly three decades of service because of the videos. Among other things, the videos included simulated same-sex shower scenes, antigay slurs, and references to prostitution in foreign ports.
Honors also faced the possibility of losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in retirement benefits if he had been forced out under a different pay grade.
Honors was removed as the carrier’s top officer in January, days before a scheduled deployment, after several of the videos were leaked to media outlets; he believes an officer he had recently disciplined on the ship was responsible for the leak, which he considers an act of revenge. He was reassigned to administrative duties because of the videos.
Honors said the videos were made to improve morale while teaching important shipboard lessons, such as water conservation. He helped produce and appeared in the videos that aired on the ship’s closed circuit television network between October 2005 and December 2007, when he was the ship’s executive officer.
In its decision, the panel agreed that Honors committed conduct unbecoming a naval officer, failure to demonstrate acceptable qualities of leadership, and substandard performance.