U.S. removed ex-Navy flight boss over workplace behavior complaints

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 23, 2014 10:39 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The former commander of an elite U.S. Navy flight unit was removed from his position amid an allegation that he enabled a climate of inappropriate behavior when he commanded the famed Blue Angels flight team, the Navy said on Wednesday.

The allegations against the former commanding officer of the precision flying team, renowned for its aeronautic acrobatics, mark the latest report of military misconduct as the Pentagon seeks to recover from a string of conduct scandals and hone an image as an organization with strong ethics.

"According to the investigation, Capt. Gregory McWherter, while serving as the commanding officer of the Blue Angels, tolerated an inappropriate work environment within the squadron which may have violated the Navy's sexual harassment, hazing and equal opportunity policies," the official Navy News Service said in a statement emailed to reporters.

McWherter was removed from his post as executive officer at a naval facility in San Diego on April 18th after a complaint was lodged with the Navy's inspector general, the Navy 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," the Navy said. The complaint also said there had been pornographic images displayed or shared.

An investigation is continuing into those allegations, the Navy said.

It was not immediately clear when McWherter served as commanding officer of the Blue Angels .

(Reporting By Missy Ryan; Editing by Michael Perry)