Racy Videos Cost Navy Captain His Carrier Command

Well, the investigation didn’t take long.

Capt. Owen Honors was relieved late yesterday of command of the USS Enterprise after racy videos made when he was Executive Officer of the vessel:

The Navy has relieved Capt. Owen Honors as commanding officer of the aircraft carrier Enterprise for showing “exceptionally poor judgment” when he produced a series of raunchy videos and broadcast them for his crew in 2006 and 2007.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday afternoon, Adm. John C. Harvey Jr., the four-star head of the Navy’s Fleet Forces Command, said Honors has been reassigned to an administrative job.

“After personally reviewing the videos Capt. Honors created while serving as executive officer, I have lost confidence in his ability to lead effectively,” Harvey said. “He is being held accountable for the poor judgment and inappropriate actions repeatedly demonstrated in those videos.”

Harvey said Capt. Dee Mewbourne, former commanding officer of the carrier Eisenhower, has taken permanent command of the Norfolk-based Enterprise. Mewbourne had been at Navy Cyber Forces.

Harvey acknowledged that this is a difficult time for the Enterprise’s crew and their families. The carrier is due to deploy in support of the war in Afghanistan in roughly two weeks.

Harvey said he has “full confidence” in the ship’s readiness under Mewbourne.

There seem to be some who are of the “boys will be boys” attitude here, but I think the fact that the Enterprise was scheduled to deploy soon played a role in the swiftness of the decision. It doesn’t strike me as a good thing to send a ship into a combat zone with their Commanding Officer under a cloud.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. tom p says:

    Yes, boys will be boys and girls will be girls, fortunately the Navy prefers that men or women command their ships.

  2. Boyd says:

    The Enterprise definitely shouldn’t deploy with her CO under a cloud. But after viewing the videos, he shouldn’t have been under a cloud to begin with.

    “Lighten up, Francis.”

  3. Dave E. says:

    “Lighten up, Francis.”


  4. michael reynolds says:

    I hate seeing things like this.

    The guy was trying to be cool. Okay, so he wasn’t cool. But presumably he knows how to command an aircraft carrier, which is the job we pay him to do.

    He should be embarrassed. He should suffer Jon Stewart making jokes about him. He should not be deprived of his command for being kind of a dork.

    This harkens back to the dark days of “zero defects” thinking. People are never perfect, they aren’t meant to be.

  5. MarkedMan says:

    My initial reaction was that the penalty was way too harsh. But as I thought about it more, it seems there may have been something more going on here. His behavior seems almost self destructive. I mean, whether or not you think what he did was wrong, it was certainly stupid. And then to top it off he put on tape that not only was he aware people were complaining through channels, but he called them gutless cowards for not coming to him directly. Given that being given command is not just about technical ability, but about being dependable and clear thinking, you have to wonder about this guy’s state of mind.