An ex-leader of the famed Blue Angels jet aerobatics team was sent home packing after alleged misconduct charges were brought against him. Captain Gregory McWherter held the second in command post at the Naval Base Coronado.
He was the Blue Angels leader of the planes that flew in close precision with each other. And he had been summoned when the planes flew too close to the ground level at a show recently.
But after a complaint was filed against him regarding a climate of inappropriate conduct under his tutelage, the senior ranking personage was given the sack. As for the exact nature of the misdemeanor, it has remained unmentioned by the authorities.
"The executive officer of Naval Base Coronado in San Diego was relieved of his duties April 18 by Commander, Navy Installations Command.
Vice Adm. William French, commander of Navy Installations Command relieved Capt. Gregory McWherter. The decision was based on initial findings of an ongoing investigation into recent allegations of misconduct and an inappropriate command climate at the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron (Blue Angels) based at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla.," the US Navy announced last week.
Ex-Blue Angels leader, McWherter happens to have achieved his chops from the Top Gun school. He had no doubt been a competent and worthy officer in his short-lived career. Why he was relieved of duty remains a mystery wrapped in an enigma.
Howevere, US Navy states that "the allegations refer specifically to the period when McWherter served as Blue Angels commanding officer, from November 2008 to November 2010 and again from May 2011 to November 2012. McWherter assumed his duties as Naval Base Coronado executive officer in November 2013. He has been temporarily reassigned to Naval Air Forces in San Diego."
Now on Wednesday, Navy reveals that ex-Blue Angels leader has been accused of violating the Navy's sexual harassment and hazing policies. And the investigation of Capt. Gregory McWherter is still continuing. The complaint claims "lewd speech, inappropriate comments, and sexually explicit humor were allowed in the workplace and in some case encouraged by the commanding officer," the Navy 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 Adm. David Buss, commander of the Navy air forces, said in the statement this week. "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."
Usually when young males get together in an atmosphere of camaraderie and brotherhood, there is much merrymaking that takes place. They may crack dirty jokes or engage in a series of insults that run the gamut from the non-serious to the very serious.
Such is the nature of most adventurous alpha males who often have high rates of testosterone running in their systems. Now, when you have the “boys will be boys” syndrome, sometimes things can get a bit too extreme. There is leg-pulling, bravado, machismo behavior and a lot of tomfoolery on set (so to say).
Even in the most sober of professions there is light banter that occurs time after time to relieve the pressure. Surgeons have been known to tell a joke or two to ease the seriousness of an operation while they are together.
So, it comes as no surprise that a bit of foolishness and horseplay while on duty is a part of the game that is life. Yet, when it occurs in the armed forces there is hell to pay as is evident from the departure of McWherter from his post as second in command of the Blue Angels.
"We remain fully committed to accountability, transparency and protecting the integrity of ongoing investigations," Buss said.