Still a national hero: Captain O.P. ‘Opi’ Honors

Captain O.P. “Opi” Honors

By Rick Brainard

Sometimes the national media just drive me crazy. Every journalism major ever schooled was taught to be objective and to report all sides of the story. It’s a good thing I am not one of them.

For the record, a national hero was humiliated this week for “questionable” training videos from four years ago. So it goes for Captain O.P. Honors of the United States Navy — or “Opi” as we know him at West Star Aviation here in Grand Junction.

Captain Honors is a national hero. He has risked his life on many occasions defending the very freedoms that allow me to write this op-ed piece.

Honors is a Top Gun graduate and has fought in combat for over a decade, including operations from Yugoslavia to the Arabian Gulf. In total, Honors has flown 85 combat missions defending our rights. And yet our big national media have disgraced all he has done for the citizens of our country over videotapes they felt may have been “inappropriate.”

Captain Honors was in command of a small city at sea for periods of six months or more at a time — a city occupied by more than 5,000 people in an area about the size of three football fields. Imagine living with 4,999 of your co-workers and peers for six months, with limited connection to your family and non-Navy friends. Now imagine what it must be like to manage, protect and train all of them.

So Honors decided to add a little humor and comic relief to the training videos in order to better hold the attention of his YouTube generation of Navy personnel. Was it “inappropriate?” Maybe. Maybe not. But four years later — four years!— we discredit this national hero just like that? What happened to two or more sides to every story?

I do know this. Captain Honors is a class guy; a national hero and certainly somebody you would pick to be on your side.

I am certain Honors never expected to be retired from the Navy over these training videos, or he would not have made them.

I can say this because he has flown into West Star on dozens of occasions. His picture has been on the wall of fame in our defense fuel ready room for many years — and will be there for many more. I can say this because his life has touched several citizens of Grand Junction, including current and former West Star employees. And I believe them.

All great leaders have made mistakes during their careers, but their lives should never be defined by them.

Rick Brainard is Vice President of Sales with West Star Aviation in Grand Junction.


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