Captain Gregory McWherter, the former commander of the Blue Angels based out of Pensacola, has been fired from his post as the executive officer of Naval Base Coronado in San Diego and now faces an investigation into his time in command of the Blue Angels. Recent information alleges that Capt. McWherter encouraged an “inappropriate work environment” that may have been a violation of strict policies of the Navy as it relates to sexual harassment and hazing. Capt. McWherter was the Blue Angels commander from 2008-2012.
A former Blue Angels commander tolerated and sometimes encouraged an “inappropriate work environment” that may have violated the Navy’s sexual harassment and hazing policies, a Navy investigation has revealed.
The Navy said in a statement that the investigation of Capt. Gregory McWherter is continuing.
McWherter led the Navy’s Pensacola-based, acrobatic flight squadron for almost four years from 2008 to November 2012. He was fired last week as executive officer of Naval Base Coronado in San Diego and reassigned to other duties due to the investigation, which started with a complaint filed last month concerning his time with the Blue Angels.
“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. “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 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.
Pornographic images were displayed in the workplace and shared in electronic communications, the complaint said. Admiral Harry Harris, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, ordered an investigation that is continuing. The Blue Angels continue to train and no changes have been made to their performance schedule, the Navy said.
“We remain fully committed to accountability, transparency and protecting the integrity of ongoing investigations,” Buss said.
McWherter, who has not been available for comment, is an Atlanta native and “Top Gun” graduate of the Navy’s Fighter Weapons School. Some who served under McWherter are speaking out on his behalf.
Melinda Cary, who served in McWherter’s command of the Golden Dragons, an F/A-18 fighter group, while in Japan from 2006 to 2008, said a command survey once indicated that men didn’t treat women fairly.