Captain Owen Honors *UPDATED*

Because I was away, I missed the whole first impact of the Owen Honors thing, but for glimpsing a horrified PC headline on CNN while waiting for a flight.  That millisecond of MSM-manufactured finger-pointing was enough to clue me in to the fact that, if CNN disapproved, I probably wouldn’t be that shocked.

Having watched one of the videos at CDR Salamander’s place (along with an excellent post about the PC hysteria going on right now), I have to say that the only thing that shocks me is the fact that the liberal media watch dogs, people whose worship at Lenny Bruce’s obscene shrine, were able to pretend such outrage.  This is the Navy, for goodness sakes, not a floating DAR meeting.  Capt. Honors is trying to reach guys (for the most part) — young guys, who have been raised their entire lives on an obscenity-laced diet of rap videos and Hollywood movies.  I actually thought the video was funny, and I’m usually quite prudish (0r, at least, uninterested in vulgarity)!

Bottom line:  if our military can’t take some weak, silly, mildly offensive jokes, how in the world can it take bullets and bombs?  We’re supposed to be training fighters here, not delicate flowers.  We want, of course, to have a moral military, made up of people who aren’t monstrous, violent, raping killing machines, but there’s a huge difference between inculcating decency in our forces, and turning them into a ladies garden party.

As for the military high command, which reacted with knee-jerk speed by destroying Capt. Owen’s career, I don’t think it did itself any favors.  When will traditional forces realize that the liberals in this country can never be appeased?  A less extreme response would have been proportionate to the low level of the offense, and would not have fed the perpetual outrage machine on the Left.  As it is, conservatives, with their abject overreacting keep conceding liberal points, even when the liberals really have no point at all.

UPDATEMax Boot nails it:  the “humor” was mild compared to what normally crosses young people’s radars; Capt. Owen (as OldFlyer said) should have comported himself with more dignity; and Owen’s real sin was to mis-read the PC signals.

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  • Oldflyer

    I have mixed feelings.  On the one hand, I don’t really think the XO of a carrier should try to do stand-up comedy for the crew.  That is not the image he should portray.  They may enjoy the routines, but I doubt that they respect the Leader because of it.
    Maybe it was effective communication.  I don’t know. But, I am a bit “Old School”.  I believe that leaders should strive to be a bit dignified, and just a little bit removed from the “mess decks”.
    On the other hand, the manufactured outrage is pitiful.  As pointed out, these youngsters were raised on MTV, HBO, etc.  You could not offend them if your life depended on it.  (Twenty-five years among Sailors gives me a pretty decent perspective).
    Of course the real issue is the alleged “homophobic” content.  Tsk! damn Tsk!  You can insult the Christian religion in the most egregious manner that a tortured mind can devise.  You can insult “straight” folks in any way you choose.  Homosexuals can engage in the most outlandish behavior during their “Pride” celebrations.  OK!  But, straight folks walk a very narrow line, where homosexuality is concerned.  Certain norms must, absolutely must, be adhered to.  Deviate (no pun) at your own risk.
    (I expose my prejudices by refusing to use the term “gay” to describe behavior that lacks  gaiety in its most basic definition.)

  • Charles

    Oldflyer (and others in the know) – wouldn’t/shouldn’t this make a difference?  Please forgive my ignorance about the military – but I was always under the impression that the “second mate” (or whatever he should be called) was the one who interacted with the crew while the “captain” (or whatever he should be called) was more of a remote figure who should maintain some decorum.

    When I first heard about this I thought I was missing something – didn’t he make these videos BEFORE he was the first in command?  Didn’t he make these while second (or something else) in command?  So, for the commander to make something like this would be inappropriate; but it would not be so for someone lower down the chain of command.

    Also, wasn’t the navy aware of these videos before promoting him?  That tells me that someone somewhere has a (pardon the pun) a “stick of their prudish butt” and that they are upset that someone who is successful was promoted. So, is it some sort of political hacking on the part of some bitter, passed-over-for-promotion idiot?

  • jj

    He should announce that he’s actually gay, and this was his way of coming out.  They’d have to make him an Admiral.

  • suek

    Love it…!

  • wrwoodman

    @jj ROTFL!
    Having spent 10 years in the Navy I can tell you that this was pretty mild.  Porn in the Navy is just a given.  Pretty much everyone has some.  In this day and age of the internet, I would almost expect to have a laptop streaming some porn flick in every room in the ship.

  • Bookworm

    JJ:  There’s the future Navy in a nutshell.  Makes me think of this:

    And, Mr. Woodman, I’m not surprised.  Months of deprivation, especially when young men are concerned, require an outlet, I guess.

  • Oldflyer

    Charles, the second in command is called the Executive Officer.  He interacts with the crew in the sense that he is the day to day “manager” and enforcer.
    The Captain is officially charged with morale, as well as discipline; and sets the parameters.  The XO makes sure they are met.  His agents are the the CPOs and Division Officers.
    The Captain typically only gets directly involved if formal disciplinary measures (punishment) are to be administered.
    At the time the videos were made, Honor was the XO as I understand.  It must be surmised that the Captain approved of what he was doing.  I also understand that at least  one of the embarked Flags (Admiral) took exception, and brought the practice to a halt.  My wife heard that some of the embarked aircraft Squadron Commanders also objected.  It is fascinating that all of this has blown up 3 to 4 years after the fact.
    As I indicated in my first post; it clearly wasn’t such a big deal at the time.  A lapse in judgment which was corrected on scene.  Apparently not considered serious enough, when weighed against his career, to derail him from his progress toward command of a capital ship.  But, now!  Since it has become public, the “homophobic” implications cannot, will not, be ignored. As everyone in the fleet knows, one “AWW Sh*t” cancels a thousand “Atta boys”.
    WRWoodman, after ten years you refer to compartments and spaces as “rooms”?  LOL.  The only spaces I ever saw that even resembled a room were in the Captain’s and Admiral’s quarters.

  • Oldflyer

    Just one more comment about how these things play out.  PC is not so new.
    One of the Navy’s great warriors, who flew 500 missions over Vietnam; rose to Admiral and commanded all U.S. Navy forces in the First Iraq War, and was on fast track to even higher rank fell victim.
    His offense. He was the senior Naval Aviator in the Pentagon.  As such he was required to sign off, or not, on the dismissal of a young woman from Naval Aviator training.  It was a per forma case; her record of failure was well documented.  But, this was a time when women Aviators were rare. It became a cause celebre among certain groups, and he paid the price with termination of his career.
    I can tell you that there was a hell of a lot of bitternesss among the warrior class.
    But, our big bold Navy has always quivered and acquiesced in the face of political pressure.
    Lest anyone think I am overly prejudiced; my command was responsible for training the first three women to fly jets in the Navy.  One was a competent aviator, and went on to serve honorably.  One was barely competent with a sense of entitlement that was disgusting.  She had problems throughout her relatively short time in the Navy, and made a name for herself during her  later airline career.  The third was superb.  She went on to an excellent career, with good command positions along the way.  I was impressed with her from the very early days, and always proud that I played a very small part in moving her along her way.  She, of course, earned her way, despite some prejudice, through diligence, courage and Palinesque determination. She set the tone.  Every woman who wears the wings owes her a debt, although they likely are unaware.

  • Ymarsakar

    The US Navy needs a real blue water war to cleans things up. This usually happens all the time in cycles for the Army and Marines. But a war cleans out the peacetime generals and politickers. The Navy hasn’t had such a cleansing in a long time. It’s not surprising their upper ranks are riddled with appeasers and LibProgs lackeys.

  • Jose

    Where to begin?

    Is this offensive? Yeah, it’s kinda raw.  But if you can’t tolerate this you won’t survive a career in the military.  Or a job on an oil rig, membership in a fraternity, etc.

    Was it detrimental to good order and discipline? Doubtful. As he pointed out in the video, a professional comic gets his laughs by dropping the f-bomb.  As stated in an earlier post, there would be no shortage of porn if you looked around the ship. This was mild stuff.

    Was it effective communication? No. If he has to resort to raw comedy to pass info to the crew, his authority and chain of command is totally worthless.

    Is it traditional for things to get raw in a military environment?  Often, yes.  What happens on deployment stays on deployment, and the folks at home don’t need to know.  But…. when the Spanish armada sailed for England, profanity would get you 39 lashes.

    Was this a productive use of his time?  The XO may well be the hardest job on the ship.  So I doubt it.

    Was it a productive use of resources?  The production quality looks fairly high so I suspect the ship’s photographers/videographers were producing this.  The cameras and editing gear were probably high end, and this stuff is time consuming to edit. It MIGHT have training value if the videographer needs to learn his tools, and if he has no other “official” duties claiming his time.  This is all being done on the taxpayer’s dime, folks.

    Is Political Correctness running amok?  Yes, of course.  But keep in mind the military is a federal institution, subject to all PC feel good laws, is obligated to enforce those laws, and discipline all infractions.

    Did he screw up? This guy was an O-6.  If he wasn’t good at his job he wouldn’t hold that rank, but it was stupid not to anticipate this would reach the public domain.  At his rank, he is required to consider public relations.

    Conclusion:  The whole affair is a waste of time.  Capt Owen was wasting his, and his subordinates time.  Anyone offended enough to raise the issue is wasting their own, and the Navy’s time.  The Navy is wasting time disciplining Capt Owen.  The media is wasting our time.   And I’ve wasted enough of your time (and mine).

  • Wolf Howling

    This highlights a problem that has plagued our military since our nation’s inception – the promotion of officers to flag rank based on political accumen without respect to other qualities.  It is not always the case – WWII is a shining exception thanks to George Marshall, who had the foresight to can political appointees and jump Ike, Bradley, Patton and others of the same ilk to flag rank.  But it certainly is largely true today.  The military is not a social organization.  Can an officer for failing to successfuly leading the soldiers under his command, but not for violating politicaly correct speech code of the left.  I could not be more disgusted. 

  • Mike Devx

    The utterly humorless Left strikes again.  Pound of bloodless flesh taken as a trophy to parade about with and wave in the air, as they chant and chant their mind-numbing slogans.
    As it relates to DADT repeal… this one didn’t even involve a lawsuit!  We all know what’s coming from these humorless idealogues.
    Everyone’s comments above are great; I particularly agree with Jose #10, especially the last paragraph.  Except a good man’s career has been unjustly harmed.

  • 94Corvette

    I am a Naval Officer (not on active duty) and was XO of a reserve unit serving with a DDG out of San Diego.  Someone told me once that Naval aviators were the most cock-sure, arrogant, obnoxious SOB’s on earth and that is exactly who I want to be flying the airplanes defending the squadron and our country.  Did any of you see the Admiral who was speaking about the demotion – had waterwings but only three ribbons.  ‘Nuff said.

  • Tonestaple

    Actually, I think this video might be more apropos:

    It is seriously wrong for the command to take away the captain right before a deployment.  Who’s going to take his place, and has he done any training at all with this crew?  It is a deeply absurd situation but it is typical of progressive blindness:  their unfailing ability to compartmentalize and to oh-so-carefully not know anything that might be inconvenient.