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Videos featuring lewd jokes and anti-gay slurs were produced on Navy aircraft carrier

Capt. Owen Honors, the Enterprise's executive officer from 2005 to 2007, apparently created, produced and starred in the short movies, which were broadcast to entertain the ship's 6,000 crew members.

January 02, 2011|By Corinne Reilly, Virginian-Pilot

Reporting from Norfolk, Va. — In one scene, two female Navy sailors stand in a shower stall aboard an aircraft carrier, pretending to wash each other. They joke about how they should get six minutes under the water instead of the mandated three.

In other skits, sailors parade in drag, use anti-gay slurs and simulate masturbation and a rectal exam. Another scene implies that an officer is having sex in his stateroom with a donkey.

They're all part of a series of short movies produced aboard the Norfolk-based aircraft carrier Enterprise in 2006 and 2007 and broadcast to its nearly 6,000 sailors and Marines. The man who masterminded and starred in them is Capt. Owen Honors — now the commander of the carrier.

The videos, obtained by the Virginian-Pilot this week, were shot and edited with government equipment, many of them while the Enterprise was deployed supporting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

At the time, Honors was the carrier's executive officer, or XO, the commanding officer's deputy. He took command of the ship in May.

In the videos, Honors indicates that he's trying to entertain the crew. The clips were shown roughly once a week on closed-circuit shipwide television, according to a few sailors who were assigned to the Enterprise at the time. The sailors requested anonymity for fear of retribution.

The sailors who spoke to the Pilot estimated that Honors made a few dozen videos and said not all of them contained sexual jokes and anti-gay remarks.

One said he mailed a complaint about the videos to the Navy inspector general this week. Others said crew members who raised concerns aboard the ship in 2006 and 2007 were brushed off.

The videos were part of what Honors, 49, called "XO Movie Night."

At the beginning of the videos, Honors jokes that his bosses shouldn't be held responsible for them. "As usual, I want to say 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," he says.

The Enterprise, the world's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, is set to deploy overseas this month.

It's unclear why the videos recently resurfaced, although one sailor who spoke to the newspaper said they remain on at least one shipboard computer.

Honors is a native of Syracuse, N.Y., and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1983. He went on to fly the F-14 Tomcat and worked as a test pilot before serving as XO on the Enterprise from July 2005 to September 2007.

Honors did not respond to requests for comment. Neither did the Enterprise's commanding officer at the time, Larry Rice, who was later promoted to rear admiral and now works at the Norfolk-based U.S. Joint Forces Command.

Rear Adm. Raymond Spicer and Vice Adm. Daniel Holloway, who commanded the Enterprise carrier strike group during Honors' time as XO, could not be reached.

The Navy released a statement late Friday in response to the Pilot's inquiries.

"The videos created onboard USS Enterprise in 2006-2007 were not created with the intent to offend anyone," the statement said. "The videos were intended to be humorous skits focusing the crew's attention on specific issues such as port visits, traffic safety, water conservation, ship cleanliness, etc."

The statement said that when leaders with the carrier strike group became aware of the inappropriate content in early 2007, production of the videos ended.

At least one video that includes anti-gay remarks and officers pretending to masturbate was made after July of that year, according to Honors' comments in it.

The Navy said it planned to launch an investigation.

Reilly writes for the Virginian-Pilot/McClatchy.

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