Former Blue Angels Commander Guilty Of Misconduct


U.S. Navy Capt. Gregory McWherter, who served as commanding officer of the Blue Angels for two terms between 2008 and 2012, has been found guilty of failing to follow orders and of “conduct unbecoming of an officer” for fostering a hostile command climate, failing to stop obvious and repeated instances of sexual harassment, condoning widespread lewd practices within the squadron, and engaging in inappropriate and unprofessional discussions with his junior officers, the Navy announced on Tuesday. The investigation found that McWherter witnessed, condoned and encouraged “juvenile and sophomoric” behavior that became “destructive, toxic and hostile.” McWherter was given a letter of reprimand that will most likely end his Navy career, officials told the Washington Post.

An investigative report (PDF) by the Navy found that under McWherter’s second term as commander, from May 2011 to November 2012, he encouraged the growth of a sex-obsessed environment. The pilots kept pornography in their jets, painted a giant phallus on the roof of their training trailer in California (visible in Google’s satellite images), and hazed new recruits, requiring them to wear “foam penis” hats. The pilots set up a messaging group on their smart phones and used it swap pornography and engage in “vulgar, homophobic chats.” The Post described the investigation’s results as revealing a “pattern of … unethical behavior more typical of an ‘Animal House’ fraternity than one of the most respected units in the U.S. Navy.”