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Honors investigation completed

Feb. 4, 2011 - 02:54PM   |   Last Updated: Feb. 4, 2011 - 02:54PM  |  
Capt. Owen Honors was fired as commanding officer of the carrier Enterprise after a series of profanity-laced videos surfaced in which he uses gay slurs, mimics masturbation and opens the shower curtain on women pretending to bathe together.
Capt. Owen Honors was fired as commanding officer of the carrier Enterprise after a series of profanity-laced videos surfaced in which he uses gay slurs, mimics masturbation and opens the shower curtain on women pretending to bathe together. (AP)
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Those who were involved with or knew of the racy video skits produced and shown on the carrier Enterprise several years ago will learn whether they'll face any disciplinary action in about a week, Adm. John Harvey announced Friday on his command blog.

Harvey, chief of Fleet Forces Command and the officer who fired Capt. Owen Honors as the carrier's commanding officer Jan. 4 over his starring role in the productions while serving as the ship's executive officer 2006-2007, said he's received the completed investigation he ordered into the productions and will spend the next week reviewing the findings of fact, opinions and recommendations before deciding what to do and informing his chain of command.

"Final actions will now be taken," Harvey said.

What Harvey will do is anyone's guess. But the command investigation he ordered was to look into "all aspects" of the videos' production, including "the actions of other senior officers who knew of the videos and what they did or did not do in response."

Harvey did not name names. But the most obvious candidates are the commanders of the carrier and its strike group at the time. They include the two ship commanders, now-Rear Adm. Larry Rice, whose Feb. 1 retirement was placed on hold in order to keep him on active duty for the investigation, and Rear Adm. Ron Horton, commander of Logistics Group, Western Pacific, who relieved Rice; and the two group commanders: retired Rear Adm. Raymond Spicer, and Vice Adm. Daniel Holloway, commander of 2nd Fleet.

In his statement to investigators, Honors said other senior leaders, including the admiral who led the embarked training strike group, several senior destroyer squadron commodores and air wing commanders — and the "myriad" other senior visitors — also were fully aware of and approved of the videos.

The commander of Strike Force Training Atlantic during Honors' tour as Enterprise XO was Rear Adm. Richard O'Hanlon, commander of Naval Air Force Atlantic.

While the senior officers were to be the "primary emphasis," Harvey spokesman Cmdr. Chris Sims later said investigators would look at "any personnel determined to have engaged in improper conduct may be held accountable." This could include key staff advisers, such as staff lawyers and public affairs officers.

In the blog, Harvey reiterated his personal displeasure over the videos, made public Jan. 1 by Norfolk's Virginian-Pilot newspaper.

"I was able to take that action because the facts of [Honors'] direct involvement in the videos were clear and indisputable - there was sufficient evidence for me to make my decision."

Harvey said he also took into consideration Honors' service as commanding officer of the command ship Mount Whitney — a post he assumed after his XO ride aboard Enterprise — as well as his eight-month hitch as commanding officer of Enterprise, which was barely a week away from an overseas deployment when he was fired. Harvey said he also considered Honors' "many years of service to his Navy and his nation."

All of that was outweighed, Harvey wrote, by Honors' role in the videos. Aimed at communicating to the crew standard shipboard topics such as water conservation through the use of locker room humor, they struck many observers as crude, sexist and anti-gay and, given his prominent role, unbecoming of an officer in the command triad. Tens of thousands of supporters disagreed in online posts and letters to editors. Harvey took the former position.

"In the final analysis … there was absolutely no doubt in my mind that what I saw on the videos represented a complete and unacceptable departure from our standards of professional conduct and judgment, and completely undermined Capt. Honors' ability to serve in command of any ship or squadron, much less one soon to deploy to undertake combat operations," Harvey wrote.

Honors attorney Charles Gittins said he'd read the blog post but declined to comment.

Harvey said that while he was able to act decisively with regard to Honors, the roles of others were too unclear to act without conducting an investigation.

"The rest of the story regarding the videos — who was involved in their production, to what degree they were involved, who in the chain-of-command actually saw the videos and, after viewing them, what action was or was not taken — was not nearly as clear as Capt. Honors' personal and direct involvement," Harvey wrote.

"Given what is at stake for all the individuals involved, due process required a complete and deliberate investigation before any further actions were taken," Harvey wrote. "That investigation has now been completed; the facts are documented and the report is complete. Final actions will now be taken."

Read Harvey's blog: http://usfleetforces.blogspot.com/">http://usfleetforces.blogspot.com/

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