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Complaint: Ex-Blue Angels head led lewd workplace

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 04:11 p.m. HST, Apr 23, 2014

SAN DIEGO >> A former commanding officer of the Navy's Blue Angels allowed, and in some cases encouraged, sexually explicit humor and inappropriate comments among members of the famed precision flying team, the U.S. Navy contended Wednesday.

The service released some details of a complaint filed with the Navy's inspector general against Capt. Gregory McWherter, who on Friday was relieved of duty as executive officer of Naval Base Coronado.

At the time, the Navy said only that it was investigating "inappropriate command climate" at the Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron based at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla.

However, an ongoing investigation has indicated that McWherter, during his two stints as Blue Angels leader between 2008 and 2012, "tolerated an inappropriate work environment within the squadron which may have violated the Navy's sexual harassment, hazing and equal opportunity policies," a Navy statement said.

"The complaint alleges that lewd speech, inappropriate comments, and sexually explicit humor were allowed in the workplace and in some case encouraged by the commanding officer," and that "pornographic images were displayed in the workplace and shared in electronic communications," the statement said.

"All Navy leaders, whether assigned to a highly visible unit like the 'Blues,' or to our installations, squadrons, ships and submarines, are held to the highest standards," Vice Admiral David Buss, commander of the Naval Air Forces, said in the statement. "The Navy expects everyone, from those officers in command positions to sailors on the waterfront, to provide principled and highly ethical leadership, stressing discipline, accountability, and the importance of treating shipmates with dignity and respect."

The Blue Angels are continuing their training and there have been no changes to their performance schedule, the Navy added.

McWherter has been temporarily reassigned to Naval Air Forces in San Diego. An after-hours call to the media office to leave a message seeking comment from McWherter was not immediately returned.

McWherter served as commanding officer of the Blue Angels from November 2008 to November 2010, and then from May 2011 to November 2012.

An Atlanta native and graduate of The Citadel, McWherter is an F/A-18 pilot with multiple tours in combat squadrons, including three deployments aboard the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk, according to U-T San Diego. He is a graduate of the Navy's Fighter Weapons School, known as Top Gun, and won the 2003 Commander Naval Air Forces Leadership Award. He was also VFA-131's Pilot of the Year in 1996.

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pridon wrote:
Probably made a comment that upset and LGBT. Based on these criteria, guess they better fire anyone who was in a leadership position pre-political correctness. Why is this an issue two years after the fact. It's not like he committed a crime or something. I served 26 years. Guess i was lucky I retired when I did.
on April 23,2014 | 03:59PM
808warriorfan wrote:
"Old School" arrogance from a Fighter Jock who was a "Top Gun" grad. To "pridon" I say it's not just the "LGBT" who get upset but Heterosexuals as well. A bunch of "old timers" at work, and I'm one of 'em, are always clowning / joking around when we're together. In this day and age w/ "newbies" around you really have to watch what you say and do.....in a way it's kinda sad.....
on April 23,2014 | 04:48PM
grantos wrote:
yep, i agree that it's kinda sad that the "old timers" can't adapt and conduct themselves professionally
on April 23,2014 | 05:23PM
SteveToo wrote:
With a stressfull job like they have, they need to let off some steam..
on April 23,2014 | 06:12PM
false wrote:
Screwed blued and tatooed but no angel.
on April 23,2014 | 08:00PM
mikaele1 wrote:
We live in a new world within a fragile glass enclosure. no can say noting that might offend someone. no can make jokes about you know who anymore.
on April 23,2014 | 09:25PM
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