The USS Enterprise is going to sea without its former commander as the Navy investigates bawdy, sexually themed videos he showed to thousands of crew members.
Captain Owen Honors, 49, was reassigned to a desk job at Norfolk naval base nine days ago. He was permanently relieved by the commander of US Fleet Forces for a "profound lack of good judgement and professionalism" while executive officer on the Enterprise.
The US Navy is investigating his broadcast on the aircraft carrier in 2006 and 2007 of videos that included gay slurs, sailors in suggestive shower scenes and simulated masturbation. The investigation is also looking into whether other senior officers were aware of the videos, and if Captain Honors was reprimanded at the time.
Captain Dee L Mewbourne, the Enterprise's new commander, said yesterday that the crew is ready to deploy despite Captain Honors' abrupt removal. He spoke to reporters less than two hours before the nuclear-powered vessel was to leave Norfolk to support troops in Afghanistan.
Captain Mewbourne said that he talked to the crew about a week ago and that they acknowledged they didn't like the circumstances surrounding the change of command. "But now we're focused on the future and the crew is ready," he said.