Nightly News | January 04, 2011
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: We return now to the story that started off our broadcast last night. We reported that the captain of an aircraft carrier in the US Navy had been temporarily relieved of his command because of those onboard ship videos that have surfaced that the Navy is not happy about. Well, tonight temporary has become permanent. Our Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski with us again tonight with an update on this story. Jim , good evening.
JIM MIKLASZEWSKI reporting: Good evening, Brian . By all accounts Captain Owen Honors was still a rising star in the Navy , but only three days after the public release of those controversial videos, it all came crashing down today. After a 28 year Navy career, Captain Owen Honors was informed only minutes before the Navy announced he was relieved of his command of the USS Enterprise . In a punishing public statement, Admiral John Harvey said he had lost confidence in Honors ' ability to lead.
Admiral JOHN HARVEY (United States Fleet Forces Commander): His profound lack of good judgment and professionalism while previously serving as executive officer in Enterprise calls into question his character and undermines his credibility to continue to serve effectively in command.
Captain OWEN HONORS: There's a really good chance you're going to be offended tonight.
MIKLASZEWSKI: It was this series of salacious videos, containing simulated sex acts and gay bashing shot aboard the Enterprise four to five years ago, that brought Captain Honors down.
Adm. HARVEY: He is being held accountable for the poor judgment and inappropriate actions repeatedly demonstrated in those videos.
MIKLASZEWSKI: Honors was replaced immediately by Captain Dee Mewbourne , who will now command the Enterprise on its upcoming mission to the war in Afghanistan in a couple of weeks. Despite today's firing, thousands of Honors ' supporters are lighting up Facebook , many of them many sailors who say videos like those produced by Honors offer a much needed break from the wars. But Navy officers, past and present, say the issue here is all about judgment than leadership.
Rear Admiral STEPHEN PIETROPAOLI, Retired, (United States Navy): It's not about being the crew's pal. It is about motivating the crew. This Ex. O. clearly has a great sense of humor. There's folks that are going to relate to that. But his principle job is not to be the ship's comedian, it's to be the ship's executive officer.
MIKLASZEWSKI: The Navy 's investigation does not stop here. Investigators now want to know why Honors ' senior commanders, who knew about these videos four years ago, didn't take formal disciplinary action against him at the time. Instead, Honors was eventually promoted to the ship's commander. Now, Captain Honors has been temporarily assigned to a desk job pending the outcome of the Navy 's investigation, but Navy officials predict that today's action marks the beginning of the end to an otherwise stellar career. Brian :
WILLIAMS: All right, Jim , thanks. Jim Miklaszewski with our update from the Pentagon tonight.