Navy Details Allegations Against Ex-Angels Commander

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The Navy is accusing former Blue Angels commander Capt. Gregory McWherter of tolerating, and in some cases encouraging, "an inappropriate work environment within the squadron which may have violated the Navy's sexual harassment, hazing and equal opportunity policies." The Navy issued a more detailed statement a week after announcing that McWherter had been relieved as XO at Naval Base Coronado after its investigation of a complaint of an "inappropriate command climate" in the Blue Angels' squadron while McWherter was in charge. It 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.

After losing his job, McWherter also resigned as president of the Tailhook Association, the naval aviators group that gained infamy 23 years ago when details of a weekend of debauchery at its convention in Las Vegas became public. The resulting scandal prompted a concerted effort by the Navy to change the image of its pilots and to enforce strict codes of conduct for the workplace environment. "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."