Blue Angels Commander Capt. Gregory McWherter was relieved of duty on Friday as an investigation into allegations of "inappropriate command climate" begins.
No one is really sure what that entails at this point, but the allegations specifically refer to his time as commanding officer of the Blue Angels during November 2008 to November 2010 and again from May 2011 to November 2012.
Capt. McWherter has been removed from his post as second in command at Coronado Naval Base in San Diego, Calif. pending the outcome of the investigation.
News of the accusations spread quickly on Friday and friends of McWherter have hope that his name will be cleared, according to the Pensacola News Journal.
“I always thought he was exceptional and would go right up the chain of command to be the Chief of Naval Operations,” said Terry Hynds. He was a Blue Angels ground crew supervisor from 1985 to 1988. “I just hope it’s a bunch of garbage and it goes away.”
Jim Breen, owner of Air Show Network in California said, “I’m speechless. I thought McWherter was as fine a person as they have had in that role in 30 years,” He said he has produced events for the Blue Angels since the late 1980s.
Well, that remains to be seen, but according to a Navy press release, he wasn't removed without cause, in their opinion.
“The decision was based on initial findings of an ongoing investigation into recent allegations of misconduct and an inappropriate command climate at the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron (Blue Angels) based at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla.”
The decision was reportedly made by Vice Adm. William French, commander of Navy Installations Command, which seems to be rare. In fact, Dennis Wisely, a retired Blue Angels pilot turned volunteer vice president of the Blue Angels Alumni Association, said he couldn’t think of any previous investigation involving the team that began with the Navy’s Inspector General.
Sounds serious. Could this be a serious blow to the famous Blue Angels or will it turn out to be a frivolous accusation or possibly overblown non-PC blowback? Only time will tell.
Image via Wikimedia Commons