A former Blue Angels commander has been disciplined by the US Navy as part of an ongoing probe into what the Navy simply calls “misconduct” going back to his period as top officer at the elite aerial unit known for putting on spectacular air shows and showing off the flying prowess of Navy pilots.
Captain Gregory McWherter served two stints as commander of the Blue Angels precision flying team, whose official name is the Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron. He was first Blue Angels commander from November 2008 to November 2010. His next posting in charge of the Pensacola, Florida-based flight squadron came from May 2011 to November 2012.
McWherter was most recently serving as executive officer at the Navy’s Coronado Base outside of San Diego, California. But on Friday, Navy Installations Command chief Vice Adm. William French stripped McWherter of that post.
The Navy did not get specific about what McWherter may have done to deserve the slap-down, but apparently it has been looking into what went on inside the Blue Angels during his days as commander for some time.
French’s move to boot McWherter from his Coronado base position “was based on initial findings of an ongoing investigation into recent allegations of misconduct and an inappropriate command climate,” the Navy said in a statement.
Exactly what type of “misconduct” the Navy suspects McWherter engaged in, or what was “inappropriate” about the “command climate” he created, the Navy would not say. But it did acknowledge that the McWherter probe began with a complaint from a single individual.
McWherter, who did not respond to media requests for comment, is a native of Atlanta and a graduate of the South Carolina military college, The Citadel. He is a fighter jet pilot with 5,500 hours in the air and has landed the powerful Navy jets on aircraft carriers 950 times.
The former Blue Angels commander has also been a flight instructor at the Navy’s “Top Gun” Fighter Weapons School. He has been decorated numerous times, including receiving the Legion of Merit, a Defense Meritorious Service Medal, and three Strike Flight Air Medals.