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?