Monday, January 3, 2011

USS Navy Video Scandal

The Norfolk Virginian-Pilot reports that the Commanding Officer of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, NavyCaptain Owen P. Honors, Jr., due to deploy shortly to support operations in Afghanistan, while serving as its Executive Officer [XO] on a similar deployment in 2006-2007, starred in the above video series to the crew. See for yourself; the newspaper has bleeped out potentially offensive dialogue.

Here are our thoughts:

1. Consider the time and the context: Any kind of deployment is stressful; leaders need to guide and channel the intensity of emotions towards topics that are less [but not totally] politically incorrect, just to burn off the steam and stress and tension in a more [but not completely] socially acceptable manner. Furthermore, back in 2006, one political party controlled both political branches of our government; it takes time for socio-political changes like the Democratic takeover of Congress, effective in January 2007, to filter out to our ships at sea.
2. We need leaders with courage, rather than timid wimps afraid to make a decision. Yes, he should have a little egg on his face [see speculation in the page 2 etc. Comments on TowleRoad], but that’s it. Clearly, the crew’s loyalty to their Captain has ensured that the American people know what a great job he’s doing. [Snark!] Other leaders are certainly learning and will be guided by this, but we don’t want to destroy the need for creativity and imagination to maintain morale on a deployment.

3. Make your own decision whether it’s really homophobic, or whatever. It’s certainly juvenile, sophmoric and a bit raunchy, but so what? Keep the good elements of military culture; don’t destroy everything.

4. With Congressional repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” to be fully implemented this year, will all such ‘humor’ be tolerated? No. Commanders and Leaders will need to ensure that all motivational materials ensure that everyone is treated with dignity and respect. A more pressing issue is whether Captain Honors recognizes how much things have changed, and the current, pre-deployment command climate on the USS Enterprise.

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