The naval commander fired for making lewd videos to boost morale will retire with rank.
Ever since the scandal erupted in January, the former commander of the San Diego-based nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise has been fighting to save his career in the U.S Navy.
Captain Owen “O.P.” Honors participated in raunchy skits captured on video between 2005 and 2007, when he was the ship’s executive officer.
They were shown as part of the ship's movie nights and included lewd scenes and slurs against homosexuals.
A Navy panel comprised of three rear admirals decided Wednesday that Honors can stay in the Navy despite the misconduct.
Honors testified he was only trying to boost morale and get across important safety information in what he described as a fun and harmless way.
He admitted that, in hindsight, he shouldn't have made the videos.
A Navy prosecutor said his actions were unbecoming of a naval officer and pushed for discharge.
In its unanimous decision, the panel agreed that Honors committed conduct unbecoming a naval officer, failure to demonstrate acceptable qualities of leadership and substandard performance.
However, without elaborating they said Honors should stay in service.
After the board reached its decision, Capt. Honors let out a sigh of relief and embraced his wife.
Former Judge Advocate Mike McCloskey followed the case and said the panel made a good decision because he believes Honors did not have any malicious intern when he made the videos.
"Number one I agree with it, number two I am not surprised, number three I think it was the right thing to do," said McCloskey.
McCloskey believes firing Honors as commander of USS Enterprise was punishment enough.
As McCloskey sees it, Honors’ naval career is virtually over.
"He has concluded his valuable service in the Navy, he is not going to be placed in a position of command or responsibility."
Honors also faced the possibility of losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in retirement benefits if he had been forced out under a different pay grade.
The ruling means Capt. Honors can retire with all of his benefits, and that may happen soon. He's one of the officers that the Navy is considering for early retirement to help thin out the ranks and cut costs.
As for USS Enterprise, a new commanding officer took control of the ship last week, replacing the commanding officer who was called in for a six month deployment following Honors' dismissal.