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Blue Angels Commander Tolerated Hostile Work Environment: Navy

An investigation into alleged misconduct by the former commander of the Navy’s elite flying show squadron — the Blue Angels — reveals he tolerated potential violations of sexual harassment, hazing and equal opportunity policies, the Navy said.

The commander, Capt. Gregory McWherter, was relieved of his duties as executive officer of Naval Base Coronado in San Diego on Friday after a complaint to the Navy Inspector General.

The complaint alleged that lewd speech, inappropriate comments as well as sexually explicit humor were allowed in the squadron’s workplace. Pornography was also said to be displayed and shared by service members.

In some case such behavior was encouraged by McWherter, the complaint said.

The alleged misconduct under McWherter’s watch with the Blue Angels took place more than two years ago.

Navy investigates new sexual harassment charges 1:47

"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. 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," said Vice Admiral David Buss, the commander of Naval Air Forces.

An investigation into the allegations is underway.

"We remain fully committed to accountability, transparency, and protecting the integrity of ongoing investigations," Buss said.

No changes in the Blue Angels team training or schedule were made.

— Jim Miklaszewski and Courtney Kube
Image: Greg McWherter
U.S. Navy Capt. Greg McWherter, former commanding officer of the U.S. Navy flight demonstration squadron, the Blue Angels, and Lt. Jim Tomaszeski sign autographs after performing at the 2010 NAS Jax Air Show, in Jacksonville, Fla. The U.S. Navy says McWherter has been relieved of duty over misconduct while he was commanding officer of the Blue Angels. McWherter allegedly allowed and in some cases encouraged sexually explicit humor, lewd speech and inappropriate comments among the famed precision flying team. MC2 Ron Trevino / AP