Honors: Should he stay, or go?


U.S. Navy Capt. Owen Honors // AP Photo

We reported in our print edition this week (dated Feb. 7) that Fleet Forces Command chief Adm. John Harvey has recommended Capt. Owen Honors be detached for cause.  As those in the service know, that’s not separation from the Navy, but the formal completion of the administrative process of removing him from command of the carrier Enterprise, which was done Jan. 4 when he was fired by Harvey over his involvement in controversial shipboard video skits recorded several years earlier when he was the flattop’s XO. And Harvey can only recommend a DFC; approval is up to the chief of Navy Personnel Command, currently Rear Adm. Donald Quinn.

However, a DFC can lead to getting kicked out, and the formality of the DFC is required to continue the process. If the DFC request is approved, the official designated as the Show Cause Authority — either Quinn or the deputy chief of staff for Manpower and Reserve Affairs — will review Honors’ entire record and decide whether he should be required to “show cause” why he should be retained on active duty. (Of note: under the regulation, either official could delegate the authority to an “Officer Exercising General Court-Martial Jurisdiction” — such as Harvey.)

If so inclined, the Show Cause Authority would order the convening of a Board of Inquiry, whose members would consider Honors’ overall record of service, including the DFC findings, in determining whether to recommend separation. If they did, members would also decide whether Honors, who with 27 years of service is retirement-eligible, should be retired as a captain or at a lesser grade.  The final decision would be up to the secretary of the Navy.

While it remains to be seen what might be decided, granting the DFC would seem to be a foregone conclusion. The greater question: whether you agree with his being fired or not, does Honors deserve to get the DFC and the boot, or to remain in the Navy? What are your thoughts?


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  1. Captain Honors should be retained, given a command and be selected for promotion. The Navy is short on officers who can think out of the box and his fitness reports show that he is eminently qualified for higher rank.

  2. I’m all for Honors fighting this out, in fact the 15 page response he filed is a compelling narative both in terms of defending his actions in regard to the videos and as a distinguished Naval Officer.

    That said, is there really much point to this? He will never be given another command or reach flag rank, so beyond his own pride, is there really any potential for a “Happy Ending” for him? Best case he serves out whatever remains of his career as a fleet or DoD staffer – hardly a successful conclusion to what was a fine career.

  3. This is disgusting. In my opinon you people throw a survey forum out for what is no business except the board/panel or whomever should judge this issue. You make it seem like a side show. What in the hell has happened to the honor, courage and comittment that MY Navy was taught? I do agree that his actions were quite ignorant but I tried to burrow down in that maybe he knew that he has made it as a high as he could advance and had enough time to retire and yet finally have the balls to tell the top brass the truth instead of sugar coating and ass kissing the hierarchy in that this type of behavior, male and female can undermine the integrity of morale. To hell with the rest of the social norms, this is again a military organization not some liberal democracy as the rest of our government is and is going downhill rapidly. At least the Captain stood up and told it like it was, not a smart way but damn it, maybe someone will quit giving in.

  4. Dani MarieBernadette D'Angelo on

    I believe it would be in the best interests of our Country, and the Navy if captain Honors was restored to Command completely, and allowed to continue his distinguished career.
    If you disagree then I think these two documents make for some very interesting and enlightening reading.



    Fleet Forces Command chief Adm. John Harvey should be stopped in his tracks and not be allowed to continue crucifying this excellent Officer.

  5. Agreed. Nothing to see here, so move along. Unless, of course, you want to see couple of flag officers in the harsh light of what REALLY happened wrt those videos.

    Best to give Honors what he needs to retire quietly as a CAPT with 30, or whatever will make this ugly episode go away. And “ugly” it is whenever a disgruntled sailor can perpetrate such a travesty and a reckless newspaper can be enlisted to execute it.

  6. It is a real shame that a Naval Officer of this caliber is being thrown under the bus for the sake of political correctness. Unfortunately, there is not much left of his career now, and retirement is probably the best option. Maybe a new career in show business awaits him. 🙂

  7. Jerry Stephenson on

    I’m really not the one to address this issue. I got upset because Adm. Zumwalt and his “Z grams” changed my Navy before I retired.

    However, I think Capt. Honors deserves better than this. He has received a raw deal and this will not go unoticed by a number of good sailors that we need to stay in the Navy and keep it as a great fighting force. Sorry situation.

  8. As you can see, poor leadership devastates us all. I like Captain Honors. Probably makes a great friend and a fighter pilot, but I am not happy in his departure.

    Going along to get along is a sadly compromised existence. I think those above him should also take responsibilty for allowing the video’s to be shown.

  9. He should continue to fight this. The end result is going to be image and we all know once that’s gone it’s hard to get back. He has just served his country for 20+ years and one incident which many feel that had served with him on the Big “E” know that the videos were all for humor and good fun. So much for having a little bit of fun and try to boost morale for a crew who had just spent 22 of 24 months out to sea. Maybe some more people should try sea duty and deal with the trials and tribulations that sailors go through. Get a life people!

  10. I think he should fight it out. His 15 page response made a lot of good points. Lots of Senior Officers watched these videos and said nothing. I was always taught that silence is approval. The Navy looks really stupid on this one.

  11. ET1 Jeffery Scott on

    CAPT Honors did the Navy a service in making videos to relief the stress filled times of being underway. IThese videos were intended for Enterprise crew only, who praised them. And like CAPT Honors said, if they offend you, Don’t watch them! In a day where the Media is only showing the highlights of what they feel is wrong, is in every aspect WRONG! The media is the reason all this is blown out of proportion, having served my country almost 19 years now, I know this would have been hailed 10 years ago as great humor. I think it is ironic the timing of this along with the DADT policy being repealed. BZ Capt Honors!

  12. I can’t believe that the chain of command has taken this situation this far. The Captain simply put training into a different perspective to get the crew’s attention and remind them of do’s and don’ts. I believe the videos were leaked to the media by someone who was either upset with the skipper for getting in trouble or to get some attention. However, that person has yet to come forward because the real truth will then be out. The media itself has taken this too far also. The Navy’s overall training videos are so boring that this Captain had to make changes so that he could engage his crew. As everyone watches the videos, and reads the posts from the crew, you realize that he built an outstanding crew morale and the crew always looked forward to movie nights. It only took one senseless idiot to spoil it for the rest.


  13. This man has only had good intentions for his crew and the ships moral. [that is the job of all leaders ] I don’t think any action was necessary in the first place. He is a superior leader interested only in the good of the Navy. I just wish I could have served under his command. I had many Co’s and Xo’s that really did not care for,but tolerated, the personnel under them. I have first hand experience in this matter in my 20 years of service. Signed, a Navy Chief

  14. Honors was part of the Navy culture at the time. He did nothing wrong in that time period. If you “persecute” him you have to go after his supporting leadership, and the Navy will stop short of that. The Navy should restore him to Command, or discharge him and each of the leaders he reported as supporting his actions. He is too valuable an asset to lose.
    You can always go back in time in someone’s history and find things that are not Politically Correct now.

  15. Mark C Nisbett on

    One of the Greatest Executive Officers I have ever had the pleasure of working for. He should be able to remain on active duty until he decides to retire. He has already received his punishment and embarassment.

  16. Watever assignments could be available given his relief, CAPT Honors would find distasteful. He’ll not get a job in the Pentagon or Senior Staff. We all know he’s 100% done – he knows too. Personally, I admire and respect his contribution to the Navy and our Country. But, given the techo geek age of instant youtube celebrity we live in, he’s now infamous. None of us know anyone on active duty who’s infamous – except one.

  17. I agree 1000% with notpjorourke. The videos obviously never offeneded anybody when they were first watched and it took years for this to be brought to light. I have been on multiple deployments and morale is the number one key to success and we have done similar videos to boost morale. He has my respect and when and officer goes above and beyond for his crew then he gains the respect of the entire crew. I beleive the navy is making this guy take the fall for something they should be defending him on. All he has done is for the navy and it sounds like he was damned good at it. I wish him Good luck! I never served with him but im proud to be in the same navy as him!

  18. Israel Ben-Abraham on

    Simply put he should stay. As a retired 36 year Senior Chief, I saw what he did as an attempt to get the crew ready in a non-stressful manner. What happened was sailors who wait for anything and everything to complain about, found it there and waited a suspiciously long time to report it or give the tapes to the reporter. Question: The tapes were government property, why have not they gone after the person who stole the government property? This was a sad day for the Navy, a four star not standing with his Navy and instead strutting for the new people and the PC police in DC.

  19. Capt. Honors staying in the Navy would be a huge step in the right direction considering how hastily conclusions were made to appease the public perception. Leadership is about making tough decisions, not the popular one and The Navy thus far has been all about the easy and popular choices. I do not think the Navy was prepared for the volume of support that quickly came together for Captain Owen Honors and that could provide someone in command enough cover to be a little more objective now that the equation isn’t so unbalanced.

  20. If Honors is to be punished then everyone who had knowledge and gave approval (or they didn’t take any actions to stop it) also needs to be punished, they should go all the way up to the CNO, for his obvious lack of leadership and judgment (in picking his subordinates). Fire everyone.

  21. It’s a sad day, indeed, when a smart, effective leader of men is thrown under the bus, all in the sake of preserving “political correctness” in the military!

    STOP the foolishness of politicizing the military, and let it get back to what it’s there for……and (no pun intended) honor the warriors, instead of the politicians!!

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