A Gay Sailor Speaks Out in Support of Capt. Owen Honors

The other day, I posted an interview with an outspoken Navy friend and defender of Capt. Owen P. Honors, the Navy captain who was relieved of his command after lewd videotapes surfaced that he'd made and broadcast to the sailors under his command aboard the USS Enterprise. Gay and lesbian groups, including the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, were particularly critical of Capt. Honors because the videos made light of gays and lesbians. I've gotten a number of emails from former sailors, some defending him, others condemning him. I wanted to share this note from a gay sailor who served under Honors aboard the USS Enterprise and wrote in to defend his former captain. (He provided his discharge certificate verifying that he'd served aboard the Enterprise). It's a viewpoint I haven't seen elsewhere and thus is worth reading and thinking about. His letter after the jump:

Josh,

My name is Eric, I was a gay sailor that served aboard the USS ENTERPRISE during the '06 and '07 deployments.  I'm not sure exactly what information you need other than that I was never once offended by Capt. Honors choice of words of brand of humor.  I have been making contact with many of my fellow gay service members that served aboard that time as well, in hopes that we can get the word out there that Capt. Honors never created an anti-gay work environment and that these slanders of calling him a homophobe and gay-basher are unjust.  I have a copied a letter that I recently sent to the Service-members Legal Defense Network.

This letter is in reference to the SLDN's recent comments against Capt. Honors previously of the USS ENTERPRISE.

By making statements against him your organization has become a participant in the action that so many gay men and women face every day in the service, harsh and uninformed judgment.

In your hasty remarks against Capt. Honors, you forget those videos were for the eyes of USS ENTERPRISE sailors only.  You are condemning a man on events that have happened over four years ago.  

Every gay man or woman that has joined the military has done so knowing that they weren't walking into an environment that would be appealing to their sense of delicacy.  Sexual orientation aside, every man or woman joining the military does so with the knowledge that the only way to get through is with tough skin.

The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network has done so much for the recent repeal of the much hated "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy it is truly a shame to see you take such a biased stance against Capt. Honors.

As a gay man that served onboard the USS ENTERPRISE during both the '06 and '07 deployments I was never once offended by Capt. Honors' choice of humor.

I have begun to make contact with my fellow gay service members who were also on those deployments.  We will band together to show our support for Capt. Honors.

I ask that you, at this time, retract your statements against Capt. Honors until the full investigation has been completed or you have attempted to discuss this issue and hear the thoughts of those who served him on the '06 and '07 deployments.  
I can't help to think about the GEICO commercial during all this.  The one with the retired drill sergeant acting as a therapist.  In all honesty, do Americans really want a military full of men and women who's first reaction to a harsh word or off-colored joke to go running to mama crying?  Do we really want those people as our defense against the ever growing terrorism threat and foreign nationals with a vendetta against America?  It seems thats what the media and the higher ups that be wish...  Before you know it they'll be administering sensitivity training on the polite and politically correct way of killing the enemy.

If you have anymore questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.  And thank you for taking the time to hear this perspective on an issue that should have never made it this far.  The moment this hit the media, the military should have stepped in and handled it, and not allowed the media to blow it out of proportion.

Thank you for your time,
Eric Prenger
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Joshua Green is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

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