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Report on Blue Angels commanding officer 061614

Report on Blue Angels commanding officer 061614

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Published by USA TODAY
Capt. Gregory McWherter served not once, but twice, as commanding officer of the Navy’s elite Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron. His first tour seemed to go smoothly, according to a Pacific Fleet investigation released Tuesday, but something went awry when he returned to replace an ousted commanding officer in 2011.
Capt. Gregory McWherter served not once, but twice, as commanding officer of the Navy’s elite Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron. His first tour seemed to go smoothly, according to a Pacific Fleet investigation released Tuesday, but something went awry when he returned to replace an ousted commanding officer in 2011.

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Published by: USA TODAY on Jun 04, 2014
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08/05/2014

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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY
COMMANDER UNITED STATES PACIFIC FLEET 250 MAKALAPA DRIVE PEARL HARBOR, HAWAII 96860-3131
IN REPLY REFER TO:
50
5830 Ser N00/128 16 May 14 FINAL ENDORSEMENT on RDML Randy Crites, USN, ltr of 6 May 14 From: Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet  To: File Subj: COMMAND INVESTIGATION INTO THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING POSSIBLE VIOLATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY POLICIES ON EQUAL OPPORTUNITY AND SEXUAL HARASSMENT BY THE FORMER COMMANDING OFFICER OF THE U.S. NAVY FLIGHT DEMONSTRATION SQUADRON BETWEEN JULY 2010 AND NOVEMBER 2012 Encl: (73) Under Secretary of Defense Memorandumof 25 Jul 13 1. I have reviewed the subject investigation and, except as modified below, I approve the investigating officers findings of fact, opinions, and recommendations. a.
 
 The U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron (Blue Angels) plays an important and integral role in the Navys recruiting and public outreach efforts. However, the inappropriate behaviors and criminal conduct documented in this report reflect poorly on the Navy in general and Naval Aviation in particular. This report is not an indictment of the current Blue Angels or of the Blue Angels as a whole. In fact, immediately upon assuming command in November of 2012, the present Blue Angels’ Commanding Officer, Commander Thomas Frosch, began implementing measures to reestablish good order and discipline in the squadron and the role the Navy expects of all our Commanding Officers. His prompt and decisive efforts in this regard are a significant step in the right direction. I commend himfor exercising strong and positive leadership. I amconfident the Blue Angels have corrected their deficiencies and will serve our Nation in a manner consistent with the highest standards of the Naval service. b. Leadership matters. We strive to inculcate in our Commanding Officers -- whether in squadrons, ships, submarines or any other platform-- the concept that "the Commanding Officer is the ship and
 
Subj
:
COMM ND
I
NVES
TIGATI
ON
I
NTO
TH
E F
 CTS
ND
CI
RCUMST NCES
SURROUND
I
NG
POSSIB
LE
VI
OL
TI
ONS
OF
THE
DEP RTMENT
OF THE
N VY
PO
LI
CIES
ON
E
QU
L
OPPORTUN
ITY
ND
SEXU L
H R SSM
ENT
BY
THE F
ORM
ER
COMM NDIN
G
OF
FICER
OF
THE
U.S
.
N VY
FLIGHT
DEMONSTR T
I
ON
SQU DRON
BE
TWE
EN
JU
LY
2010
ND NOV
E
MB
ER
20
12
th
e
ship
is
the
Command
in
g O
ff
i
cer
. In
this
case,
a
ve
ry s
tr
ong,
even
char
i
smat
ic, Commandi
ng
Of
ficer
did
lead
;
un
fo
rt
unate
l
y,
Cap
tai
n Gr
egory
McWherter
le
d
his
Ready
Room
far
astray
of
acceptab
le
norms
of
behav
ior
and conduc
t. T
he
Bl
ue Angels
Ready
Room
did
,
in
fa
ct
, f
ol
low
th
e
Commanding
Off
i
ce
r'
s
examp
le,
and
made
the
standard
he
estab
l
ished
,
thei
rs.
Th
is Commandi
ng
Off
icer
witnessed, accepted,
and
encouraged
behavior
tha
t
while j
uveni
le
and
sophomo
ri
c
in
the
beginning,
ult
i
mate
ly
and
in
t
he
aggregate,
became
destruct
i
ve
, t
oxic,
and
host
ile.
The
Bl
ue Angels
Ready
Room
env
ir
onment
under
his
command
ran
counter
to
estab
l
ished
Navy
standards
and
the
U
nif
o
rm
Code
of
Mil
itar
y J
ust
i
ce
,
and dramat
i
cally
weakened good
order
and
di
sc
ipl
ine
in
the
squad
r
on
. 2.
Execu
ti
ve
Summar
y.
1 In
spector
General
that
the
forme
r
Bl
ue
Angels
Commandi
ng
Of
ficer
,
Capta
in
Grego
ry
McWherter
,
and
ot
he
r
members
of
the
Bl
ue
Ange
ls
created
a h
os
t
ile
work
envi
ronmen
t
through
pe
r
vasive
sexua
l
ha
rassment
.
Because
the
Bl
ue Angels
is
an
E
che
lon 5 Command
unde
r Commande
r,
U.S
.
Pac
i
fi
c
Fl
eet
, I
was
asked
to
in
ves
t
igate
he
r
comp
l
aint
. I
convened
a command i
nvestigat
ion
int
o
th
is
matter
,
appoint
i
ng
Rea
r
Admira
l (Lower
Half)
Randy
C
ri
tes
as
the
In
ves
t
igat
i
ng
Of
ficer
. su
bs
tantiat
es already
begun,
Rear
Admira
l
Cr
it
es
' in
ves
t
iga
ti
on
cl
ear
ly a
ll
ega
t
ions
.
Cor
r
ect
i
ve
actions
have
Captai
n
McW
h
erte
r of h
is
d
uti
es
as
E
xecu
t
ive
Off
i
ce
r,
Naval
Stat
ion
Coronado
for loss
of
co
nfi
de
n
ce
.
This
Executive
Off
i
ce
r
position
is a
fleet-up position,
wh
ich
means
tha
t
Capta
in
McW
h
er
ter
would
have
become
the
Nava
l
Sta
t
ion
Commanding
Off
i
ce
r in
Apr
il
20
15.
b.
Capta
in
McWhe
rte
r
ha
d a
success
f
ul
and
unma
r
red
tour
as
th
e
Commanding
Of
fi
ce
r of
the
Bl
ue
Ange
ls f
rom 2008
to
20
10. He
was
popu
lar
and
we
ll
-li
ked by
h
is
Ready
Room.
In
November
20
1
0,
at
th
e
sc
he
duled
conc
l
usion
of
t
his
two
-
yea
r
tou
r,
Commander
David
Koss became
the
n
ex
t
Comma
nd
in
g Of
fi
cer
of the
Bl
ue Angels
. On 21
Ma
y
201
1,
Comma
n
der
Koss
commi
tted
a
sa
f
ety
of
fl
ight vio
lat
ion
duri
ng
an
airshow
in
Lynchb
u
rg,
Vi
rgin
ia
.
Subseque
ntly,
an
airshow
was
51
 
Subj: COMMAND INVESTIGATION INTO THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING POSSIBLE VIOLATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY POLICIES ON EQUAL OPPORTUNITY AND SEXUAL HARASSMENT BY THE FORMER COMMANDING OFFICER OF THE U.S. NAVY FLIGHT DEMONSTRATION SQUADRON BETWEEN JULY 2010 AND NOVEMBER 2012
52
cancelled and the teamconducted a safety stand down. Through deliberation and consultation with the Chief of Naval Air Training, Commander Koss asked to be relieved of command of the Blue Angels. Captain McWherter returned to the Blue Angels and re-assumed command in May 2011, and remained in command until November 2012. Upon his return, Captain McWherter received a "hero’s welcome" fromhis Ready Room. I believe he subsequently became susceptible to hubris and arrogance, blinding himto the common sense judgments expected of all service members, but especially those entrusted with command. c. In sharp contrast to his first tour, throughout his second tour as the Blue Angels’ Commanding Officer, Captain McWherter and many in his command openly engaged in sexual harassment and other inappropriate behaviors, which he failed to correct. Examples include proliferation of explicit pornography and sexually suggestive images in the cockpits and in the "GroupMe" intra-squadron electronic communications tool, the painting of male genitalia on the roof of the center point trailer at the Blue Angels’ winter training facilities in El Centro, California, and hazing during the enlisted "Cresting Process." Not only does Rear Admiral Crites' investigation demonstrate that Captain McWherter failed to take immediate and decisive action to guard against and suppress violations of Navy policy, it established that by condoning and encouraging unlawful behaviors over a sustained period, he created a hostile work environment. 3. Administrative Changes. I note the following administrative errors. a. FoF 63: FoF 63 should reference enclosure (37) to the command investigation rather than enclosure (31). b. FoF 91: FoF 91 should reference enclosure (39) to the command investigation rather than enclosure (34). c. FoF 113: FoF 113 should reference enclosure (35) to the command investigation rather than enclosure (45). d. FoF 126: FoF 126 should reference enclosure (27) to the command investigation rather than enclosure (37).

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