XO Movie Night on USS Enterprise – a bad idea

It is difficult to imagine how anyone thought that this was a good idea.  The XO (Executive Officer) on the nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise made a series of videos to “entertain the crew.”  They were a bit on the raunchy side, involving masturbation, “chicks in the shower” sailors in drag, gay slurs, rectal exams – that sort of thing.   Some people on board were offended.  Complaints were ignored.   The XO,  Owen Honors, who is now the captain of the ship, suggested that if people did not  like the videos, they shouldn’t  watch them. He also states at the beginning of each video that “the captain and the admiral – they don’t know anything at all about the content of this video or the movie this evening, and they should absolutely not be held accountable in any judicial setting.” OK, fine.   How the XO, now the captain, thought that the videos would not find their way to the world outside the ship, to say, I don’t know, the internet, is frankly a bit beyond me.   Captain Honors is now in hot water for his lack of judgement and his video directing and editing skills are on display all over the web.   Here is a sample as provided in reporting by the Virginia Pilot:

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37 Responses to XO Movie Night on USS Enterprise – a bad idea

  1. MightyCasey says:

    Wow – his name is HONORS? Really? OMG, and he’s a classmate of my cousin’s. The Class of ’83 must be so proud. Not.

  2. Josh says:

    He was my XO at the time and I love his videos!

  3. Betsy says:

    it is amazing to me that these men and women go out and serve our country and just because they poke innocent fun at real life things, this is a problem…it’s called a moral booster…god bless our troops and their sense of humor, they are only human!

  4. Rick says:

    The problem is that these videos all look so stupid when they are broadcast around the world on the net. Could anyone really believe that broadcasting these videos on a ship with a complement of 5,000 over several years would not end up on the internet? Or that ignoring complaints about content was a really good idea? The videos put the Navy in a bad light. A clip implying that an officer is having sex in his stateroom with a donkey might be mildly amusing on the ship’s internal TV but looks really bad on You tube. Personally I didn’t find the video either terribly offensive or for that manner very funny. That really isn’t the point.

    My concern is less about the content of the videos than the lack of judgement shown by the XO, who is now the captain of a nuclear powered aircraft carrier.

  5. Davester says:

    Rick hit on the head, although all of us in the sea (and other) services have experienced respective (intended) humorous events (crossing the line, etc) the “lack of judgment” is sadly pervasive here.

    No doubt Capt Honor is uniquely qualified for his (former ?) position, yet he will no doubt suffer the PC damage to his long and impressive career.

    Wishing Capt Honor fair winds and following seas as I have found, there are always new horizons to follow



  6. Josh says:

    As a former member of the Navy, I served on the USS Enterprise for four years. During this time, I served under three different XO’s. By far, Capt. Honors was the most respected XO on the USS Enterprise. Even though some might find these videos offensive, these videos were meant for the men and women of the military as a sense of comic relief to help keep moral high. I strongly doubt that the majority of the individuals who are casting judgement on Capt. Honors have ever been depolyed on an aircraft carrier for months at a time. For those who have been in this situation, I’m sure you can appreciate the need for comic relief!

  7. AL Ursich says:

    Looks like someone missed the post Tail Hook Sensitivity training I had to sit through on Shore Duty in San Diego….

    FCC(SW) Retired Navy

  8. Ken says:

    After 24 years and retirement from the Navy, I can honestly say that I feel for Capt. Honors. The things that happen onboard are intended for moral boosters. Taken out of context, as this has been, only hurts good sailors. I am glad we did not have video cameras when I was in. How embarrassing it would have been to see my CPO initiation 40 years later. The Navy is definitely heading south. Pretty soon they will make it illegal to have fun aboard ship.
    From what I am getting from the video, Capt. Honors may be one of the last members of a dying breed of true sailors that want to motivate his crew. Unfortunately he will pay the price with his career.

  9. Shanejd says:

    I think it is a great morale boosting program and was not meant for the critical eyes of the news or non-enlisted folks. Let them have some r&r time, sheesh!

    It is nice to see a human factor in the military.

  10. Ken says:

    Captain Honors, We are with you 100%. I saw the video and did not see anything to fus about. Its just the media grabbing at straws to discredit OUR Milatry AGAIN. Must be a slow day in the news room. Whats wrong with the Capt. showing his human side and a little humor to boost morale. My Son is serving on the interprise, has met the Capt. and was impressed with his openess and conectiveness with the enlisted men and women serving with him. Dear Media have you looked yourself in mirror lately???

  11. Ronald says:

    I served onboard at the time of XO movie night these clips are being taken out of context and made a big deal of because he is now a captain of a ship. If there were real complains about this he would have been taken away long ago. If you have never been on a ship serving you have no room to talk about what we go through and what makes us laugh. Leave it alone and let a good man do his job.

  12. Mark says:

    Go Capt. Honors. for all you haters, why don’t you find a REAL cause to shine light on?

    I really can’t believe that wasting all the time and engery not to mention the money on such a petty issue pleases you.

    There is no bashing going on in this video. The Capt. is making fun of everything, not just Mo’s. So get a life and try to do some good in the world, instead of stirring shit up.

    Daniel Tosh, Help us out here.

  13. Stephen says:

    I am a Marine and did two deployments and witnessed these videos like a lot of other service men and women and can say they were a great moral booster. Those who have been at sea for 6 months need some sort of comical relief. The ones who have never served can keep their mouths shut, because they don’t know how stressful it is.

    As for the XO lacking judgement, he knew quite well what he was doing and the risks he was taking. The man started his videos with a disclaimer. Doesn’t that tell you he smart enough to know one day he would take some heat for his skits? Capt Honors was courageous enough to not worry about the politics and just please his command. That takes a lot of guts, especially in the sensitive world we live in today. He put the junior men and women first, that’s admirable. The military needs more leaders like this.

  14. derrick says:

    i am not navy or a marine, but when i was active army in korea, i experienced a year where this kind of moral booster would have been incredible.
    we had one lower enlisted soldier do something almost similar, and our sgm seen it on youtube and the lower enlisted got the shaft.
    the military is becoming anti-moral. if you dont believe that, you need to sign up.

  15. Three Cheers says:

    I’ve never been in any military environment, but even I can see that the Virginian_Pilot and it’s sister papers are guilty of dog-piling on a man who is guilty of doing nothing more than his job. I wasn’t aware that to be an XO you had to be King Solomon or Christ Almighty, because I can only guess at the crap Mr. Honors had to endure in the position of XO that would cause him to use such material in his videos.

  16. Gary Gregory says:

    I was onboard the ship during this time and to see the video. Untill you are on a six month deployment and understand shipboard life you should not be able to comment at least in a negative manner. It was the best movie I had ever seen because it beat the Rocky movies. I feel for the Officers involved because their careers do not deserve to be jeopardized. IT BOOSTED MY MORALE DURING THAT TIME, THANKS.

  17. Ryan says:

    I served on the Enterprise while these videos were made and they were great. Like everybody said things that happen on the ship were for us to see and know. Not to mention this was done in 2007, and just now this is coming out if it is so bad. I am tired of this being politically correct crap everywhere because he brings up being gay it is wrong to say even though people are who cares, but if you talk about straight sex its ok? I dont get it. There are so many things that happen on the ship 10x worse then these videos that actually affected other peoples lives badly. To where these videos were meant to boost morale and its exactly what they did everybody loved them and everybody loved Honors while I was there. For some of the stuff that happens on navy ships during deployments this is whats making the news? People get over it and respect somebody that has given his life to serve his country and almost everyone the has served under him has loved and respected think that says a lot more about somebody than some comedy videos. Because I am sorry dont see Family Guy, and other shows and movies getting this kind of reaction. By chance Captain Honors you read this keep doing what you are doing and good luck for whenever you go on deployment again.

  18. Jim Boka says:

    All these damn news people need to STFU and stop taking everything so damn seriously. I served on a Navy ship 30 years ago and we needed this kind of comic relief at times to boost morale in what is an otherwise very boring and stressful situation. Our XO was a nut at times, it was a part of his job. We are going to destroy ourselves if we try so hard to be politically correct ALL THE TIME. This video was not meant for prime time family viewing and should not be held to that standard.

    If Captain Owen Honors loses his command there is something going on here that none of us are being told. There is no way he will lose his command over this video unless we as a country have so lost our bearings that we can no longer smile at anything. Honors was doing his job as XO and doing it well when he made this video. This video is standard fare, actually very tame by Navy standards. When I served we would have never seen such an outrage over something so harmless. No way! (ET2, USS Sierra, AD-18, 1979-1981)

  19. joshua sparrow says:

    I served on the Enterprise and i have great respect and gratitude for that man. He cared for his sailors and their moral and I personally think this is ridiculous. whats next no meat on the ship because there are a few vegans among the crew. if they didn’t like it than they didn’t have to watch. i don’t like a lot of things and guess what. I AVOID THEM. not hard.

  20. recon24d says:

    the only thing you can ding this guy for is being too F***ING AWESOME! im army and i can still dig it. all the controversy over this is why don’t ask don’t tell should stand. and women shouldn’t be allowed in combat. ever since the hoplites and the roman legions soldiers have enjoyed sophomoric and crude sexual and vulgar humor. its one of the cornerstones of unit cohesion. until some pansy with a stick firmly wedged in their fifth point of contact comes along like a fire breathing vulture and just vaporizes the fun. WRRRRAAAKKK Sexual harassment WRRAKKKKKK homophobia WRAAAAAAAAKKKK. please leave the military if you cant handle our culture dont ask us to change our culture to fit your hypersensitive needs.

  21. Walt says:

    Being in the Navy for the past 15 years, seeing these videos were a relief. Some of the best commanders that I have had the best time sererving under were the ones like Capt Honors. And I can tell you that the ships that I was one performed the best with these commanders. The crew will go to bat for them at a drop of a hat. And to Capt Honors, I’ll sail with you any day.

  22. Bob says:

    I find it terribly amusing that so many of you comment writers think these videos could possibly _boost_ anyone’s morals … oh, wait … you meant “morale”! :rolleyes:
    Clue: “morale” is different from “moral” – for one thing, they are pronounced differently … lol

  23. This post caused a huge response. Owen Honors is due to be relieved of his command today Tuesday January 03, 2011. He will be asked to present his immediate resignation from the USN. If for some reason he does not I hope all you above supporters will put your money where your collective mouths are and give evidence at his well deserved Court Martial.
    Good Watch.

  24. Charles says:

    Standdown once again.

    Maybe 30+ years ago and get by with it, but bad idea! What were CAPT Honors thinking, not in today’s Navy just don’t do that. Political Correctness at the Navy. Navy bows to political correctness aboard a nuclear powered aircraft carrier. Let’s look past all these things and look into a sailor’s heart. What he or she holds there is the love for family, the love of country, the willingness to fight, yes even die for these things. He or she has the ideals to make this a safe and better place to live and bring up children, yours and mine, but will not take outright credit.

    Another skipper bites the dust.

    USN Ret

  25. Deck Ape says:

    Hats off to Skipper Honors! I spent some signifigant time on the deck in the Tonkin Gulf in ’71 and would have appreciated something like his videos verses sanitation and fire saftey programs. All we ad was “Shaft Alley” Make it a box set for those of us with fond memories and proude service on the Enterprise!!! I’l buy it!

  26. Bobby B says:

    Can someone explain to me how such stupid and juvenile humor is a “morale booster”. The guy looks like a total moron. How can someone who makes such a stupid video command any respect??

  27. David McFarland says:

    I’ve got buddies on the Enterprise, buds from my nuke training and such. They love Captain Honors. Everyone does.

    Oh, by the way, nomatter what you do in today’s Navy, someone gets offended. I swear, you could take a poll about how someone else ate food and someone would report they saw something offending. Saying “some members of the crew were offended” means absolutely nothing to anyone who’s actually served in the military. People will always be offended.

    And these videos? SNL makes them look like Veggietales. This is just a Post-DNDT Witchhunt. It was three years ago.

    The only valid argument anyone has was “He was the XO. He should be acting like a perfect model sailor.” He wasn’t, no, but he was trying people to be a GOOD XO, one that people would follow because they WANTED to, not because they were told to.

  28. RE: David McFarland. Now this is becoming really scary, someone with nuke training actually approves of the behaviour of this now former C/O & XO. Perhaps we should be looking closer to home with regard to our nuclear security rather than North Korea, Iran and Pakistan.

    Does the US Navy now only follow orders and officers they want too? Clearly with all the USN Officers who have been relieved of duty in recent times there is a serious problem to address by the USN. It was mentioned above that the average crew age is 20 years in these vessels so this former XO was pandering to the worst instincts of youth. His ‘morale booster’ leadership should have been to educate and guide them to maturity. It was stated recently that 25% of enlisted cannot pass the basic entrance exam. due to poor education in our nations schools.
    Mr. McFarland I sailed from 1953 to 2003 in both European and United States vessels so perhaps I am somewhat qualified to make a judgement and render an opinion. And yes I AM a United States Citizen since 1973.
    Good Watch.

  29. Jim Boka says:

    Re: Captain D. Peter Boucher.

    I respect that you have a long and multifarious career at sea. Judging from your demeanor I see you as one of two things, either a fraud and not who you say you are, or more likely a product of an archaic time when prim and proper was the order of the day. You probably have no appreciation for “Saturday Night Live”, and may not even know what it is. Times change and maybe you should consider that. The fact is, today’s youth see no harm and much humor in the video.

    What does nuke school have to do with anything? As top of my class at Great Lakes ET school I was literally begged more than once to go to nuke training. I hate subs so I said no way because they could not guarantee me I would not be stuck on one. I was the best radar & UHF tech in the fleet. I guarded nuclear weapons as my regular in port watch. I was on the ship’s Emergency Response Team. I was in the Personnel Reliability Program (PRP) program and held a top secret clearance. The point is, I was a top notch sailor as was David McFarland and I completely agree with his point of view. From my point of view Captain Honor’s video was extremely mild and tasteful for what it was. He provided the humor without going over the top as it were. Try to appreciate the differences between generations and understand this was not aimed at you or the public in general. Thank you for your service BTW. (ET2, USS Sierra, AD-18, 1979-1981)

  30. Rick says:

    Let us endeavor to remain polite even while we disagree.

    I think we can agree that the Navy should have taken corrective action in 2007 when it learned of the videos. It apparently told XO Honors to stop but did nothing else. Also, the news reports indicate that the videos were available on the ship’s computer for the last four years. That is apparently how they were leaked.

    Whether or not the videos were intended for the outside world is beside the point now that they are on the internet. The impression left by the videos is more of a frat house than a well run carrier.

    Once the videos got out, I don’t see that the Navy had much choice. They are working through significant changes with men and women serving together on surface ships and soon submarines. Condoning Honors “chicks in the shower” or “sex with a donkey” segments is, no doubt, not the message they want to communicate.

    Captain Honors seems to be the one who was unable to change with the times. The Navy has changed and, at least based on these videos, he hasn’t. There are any number of soldier and sailor produced videos which are very popular and do not feature the raunchy, sophomoric humor evidenced in these videos. It is a pity that his career was shortened, but the final fault lies with him.

  31. Nils R. B. Young says:

    That ain’t the USN I served in. And claiming the CO & flag don’t know doesn’t excuse them for the publication (playing over the ship’s TV system) of must have taken the men in question some time to make. Amazing & depressing.

  32. Rick says:

    XO Honor’s videos had to be well known to the captain. The Navy brass knew about them since at least 1997. Administratively the whole thing has been badly mishandled

  33. Chuck says:

    I thought long and hard before I decided to get into this discussion. No matter what I have to say it’s not going to change anyone’s mind, but it will make me feel better.
    I’m a retired navy cwo-3[that’s not going to impress anyone nor should it.] It’s just to let you know I’ve been there and done that.
    No matter how bad you may of had it I guarantee you some had it worst and they didn’t have to have the the type of morale building that these video’s showed.
    There is an old Naval saying “Familiarity Breeds Contempt.” I never wanted to be familiar with someone who I may have had to send into harm’s way nor someone who may of had to send me in harm’s way.

  34. Having worn out Rick’s infinite patience I have written a post in NAUTICAL LOG. I should have done so in the first place and will do in future! You can go there to read my “archaic” viewpoint. Thank you Rick, as always you summarize things nicely.
    Good Watch.

  35. John says:

    Capt. Honors did all he could to keep up the morale for his shipmates. Yes, a few things he did were a little over the top but overall I think he shouldn’t have been demoted. I think this story would make a good modern day version of “Good Morning Vietnam” :)~ Just need someone a bit younger than Robin Williams to play him.

  36. Rick says:

    There are lots of great and fun videos made by personnel on US Navy ships that do not cross all the lines that Captain Honor’s videos crossed. Like many others I do not believe that the only way to maintain morale is to produce this sort of high quality low brow and demeaning humor.

  37. Jane says:

    I’m trying to keep an open mind on this issue so I’d like to hear some specific reasons/examples of why the men and women who served under Capt. Honors thought he was a good officer. Forget the stupid videos as an attempt to boost morale. There have got to be (there should be) other ways he supported the crew and morale. Like maybe, ‘he was tough but fair’, ‘made sure safety came first’, ‘led by example’, ‘showed compassion when people got bad news from home’. Help me out here. The XO of an aircraft carrier has got to have many important responsibilities but, frankly, how can non-military people like me who see these videos think Capt. Honors was anything but a sophomoric clown?