US Navy investigating lewd videos aboard USS Enterprise
The US Navy says it is investigating the production of lewd videos aboard a US aircraft carrier which have turned the spotlight on a veteran commander.
The videos were apparently made in 2006 and 2007, and one features gay slurs, simulated masturbation and women pretending to bathe together.
The Virginian-Pilot newspaper revealed the existence of the videos, but it is unclear why they are surfacing now.
The films' key figure is Capt Owen Honors, now USS Enterprise commander.
Capt Honors, 49, was the carrier's executive officer - second-in-command - when the videos were made. He now commands the ship, which is based at Norfolk, Virginia.
In the introduction to a video posted on the Virginian-Pilot website, Capt Honors apparently acknowledges receiving complaints about the content of the films.
The man at the centre of this controversy is Capt Owen Honors, a former Top Gun pilot who is now the most senior officer aboard the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the USS Enterprise.
The discovery of the videos comes just weeks after Congress and President Barack Obama did away with an uneasy compromise on gay men and women serving in the US military.
Some will be outraged that such attitudes not only exist in the military but are tolerated at - even broadcast by - the highest levels.
Others will shrug, viewing rough humour and filthy language as the stuff of militaries the world over.
The USS Enterprise is due to deploy again shortly. Whether Capt Honors will command it is not at present clear.
"Over the years I've gotten several complaints about inappropriate material during these videos, never to me personally but, gutlessly, through other channels," he says.
In the video, Capt Honors introduces a scene where two female sailors pretend to bathe together, saying "chicks in the shower" is his "favourite topic".
In another scene, male sailors dressed in drag mimic masturbation. Other clips in the video show a man in drag and a mock rectal examination.
Navy Cmdr Chris Sims was quoted by the Associated Press as saying that the videos "were not acceptable then and are not acceptable in today's Navy".
Executive officers "are charged to lead by example and are held accountable for setting the proper tone and upholding the standards of honour, courage and commitment that we expect sailors to exemplify," he said.
He said US Fleet Forces Command had begun an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the production of the videos.
The Virginian Pilot reported that the videos were made during the Enterprise's two six-month deployments to the Middle East in 2006 and 2007.