Political correctness has struck again! Four years after very silly, but possibly offensive, videos were made to entertain sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, Navy Captain Owen P. Honors, then the executive officer, has been disciplined and relieved of his command. At the time the ship was on its way to combat operations in the Iraq and Afghanistan areas.
Honors, who had since risen to command the ship, will see his until-then solid career now destroyed because the videos had recently surfaced in a daily newspaper’s website. There are two aspects to this incident and its aftermath that evoke personal comments from an ex-Navy guy.
First, Captain Honors should have known better than to play along with the raunchy theme of the video by appearing in it. Scenes of the officer in a shower cap and bathrobe, along with his inappropriate remarks, were just plain stupid actions for a high-ranking Navy officer. He should have realized the video could have eventually been shown beyond the confines of the Enterprise.
That said, Captain Honors didn’t do anything remotely serious enough to have his career destroyed and his name dragged through the scandal-hungry news media mud. Why is anyone shocked that relaxing sailors often discuss intimate details of human behavior and say shocking words like heck or darn. The Navy has had at least a two-century-old record of many actions, words and pranks aboard warships that are just as raunchy as that video.
For example, crossing the Equator and the International Date Line always calls for outrageous ceremonies, initiations of first-timers and costumes that any politically-correct observer would find offensive to the extreme. After long months at sea, especially in wartime, sailors have been known to go ashore and look for more explicit experiences than joining in on the local church social.
On a personal note, this old Navy guy who served in World War II and the Korean War, during those years experienced much more explicit material. They included so-called stag (pornographic) movies and other media available aboard ships and at Navy and other Armed Forces bases around the world.
Is there need to explain that members of the Armed Services rarely behave as if they were members of your local church choir? They do their duties under tough and dangerous conditions. If they relax with some time-honored guy humor that can be seen today at any high school or professional sports locker room, there should be no dire punishment.
Captain Honors didn’t deserve to have his excellent career destroyed. It was a decision made by high-ranking officers and their political bosses who feared their maiden aunts would be offended by the Captain’s very minor error in judgment.