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Ex-Enterprise Sailor Defends Videos, Captain

Former Petty Officer Phillip Ciesla, who was a crewmember on the USS Enterprise when controversial videos produced by Capt. Owen Honors were first shown, defended the videos and the captain today saying they were a morale booster for the crew.

"They were meant for our entertainment - you know, lighthearted laughter," Ciesla said on CBS' "The Early Show." "None of it was ever meant, you know, to be taken seriously."

"When you're out to sea for months on end, you're halfway around the world, and you're working arduous hours - 15 to 18 hours a day, temperatures of 120 degrees or more in the Persian Gulf - morale starts to get a little low," Ciesla said. "And you just want a sense of normalcy, you know, something to boost your morale, just a little something to get you through your day, just a little laughter.

Sources: Navy Capt. to be Relieved of Duty
Pictures: Navy Captain Owen Honors' Lewd Videos

Of the controversial videos, which depict suggestive shower scenes, mimicked masturbation and contain gay slurs, Ciesla said, "It's just something that, you know, most sailors found humorous."

Military officials have told CBS News that Captain Honors will be relieved of his command pending the investigation into raunchy videos that were made on his ship three or four years ago.

Captain Honors may be stripped of his duties as early as Tuesday, reports CBS News correspondent Whit Johnson.

After some complaints about the anti-gay slurs and sexually suggestive images, the Navy did put a stop to the videos that were shown to 6,000 crew members aboard the Enterprise. But no formal investigation was launched at the time.

Investigators will have to determine why Honors apparently received no formal punishment - and was even promoted in the following years - despite the fact that Navy officials knew of his role in the videos.

"It is very unusual to have someone in that position of authority to not only be caught on tape, but to be the one who's engineering what's being caught on tape," David Brown, managing editor of the Navy Times, told CBS News.

On "The Early Show" this morning Ciesla said Captain Honors' dismissal over the videos is improper.

"I don't believe it's the right course of action," he told anchor Erica Hill. "What he did, you know, he didn't do it out of malice or cruelty. He did it to entertain his crew and to boost our morale."

Honors, who graduated from the Naval Academy in 1983, has offered no statement or explanation. But more than 2,700 people signed up on Facebook with messages of support for the commander.

One woman who served on the ship posted: "they r attacking one of the few things that made us laugh while we were out there."

Another sailor added that Captain Honors " the heart and soul and morale..." of the ship.