WASHINGTON -- A Navy captain whose star fell overnight as a result of some raunchy videos was removed from duty Tuesday, but has found an unlikely support base online from thousands of fans, including sailors formerly under his command.
As a sailor and Navy flyer, Capt. Owen Honors had an impeccable record according to all accounts. He rose high within the Navy ranks -- to commander of the USS Enterprise, a nuclear powered aircraft carrier -- until the eve of his deployment, when he was publicly shamed for the videos, which starred Honors himself, as well as colleagues participating in lewd language, simulated sex and repeated instances of gay bashing
Adm. John Harvey, the head of U.S. Fleet Forces Command, said he was relieving Honors from his command because of his "poor judgment."
"After personally reviewing the videos Capt Honors' created while serving as executive officer, I have lost confidence in Capt Honors' ability to lead effectively, and he is being held accountable for the poor judgment and inappropriate actions repeatedly demonstrated in those videos."
But now supporters of Honors are taking to Facebook in large numbers to express their disappointment with the Navy's decision to dismiss Honors. A Facebook support page dedicated to Honors grew in members from just 1,400 Monday afternoon, to 12,000 and counting on Tuesday evening.
Among those voicing their opinions is fellow Navy Capt. Robert Marcotte, who wrote: "Honors was a great (executive officer) and an even better (commanding officer). Led, supported and ensured morale was maintained during the deployment in 2006. The entire ship would ensure they were in front of a TV for XO movie night. They could not wait for it. ....It is a terrible waste to lose a leader like CAPT Honors."
The Navy knew about the videos for four years but only took action once the videos were published by the Richmond Virginian-Pilot and broadcast on television. Some argue the result was an outgrowth of political correctness in today's Navy.
"Political Correctness has just gone too far and those that choose to live and die for this country should be able to enjoy a laugh!," wrote Randi Binion-Olson.
Kyle Deerman said he too was on the Enterprise when Honors was the executive officer. "I really do believe that people are blowing this out of proportion. You cannot judge him or anyone else who has served on a Naval vessel unless you have been there. They were funny and (gave people) something to talk about. It is a shame."
Michael Williams wrote: "I loved the Captains skits while serving on the USS Enterprise. It kept the morale level up and had the crew looking forward to Saturday nights... What happens on the ship should have stayed on the ship!"
Honors attended the Naval Academy and taught at the Navy's Top Gun flight school. During the announcement that effectively ended Honors' career, Harvey acknowledged that Honors record as a commanding officer was good.
But as additional explicit videos were revealed Tuesday night, the investigation continues as to which senior officers knew about the videos and what they did about them. In the end, Honors' may not be the last casualty of these fraternity-style sketches.