Blue Angels commander relieved of duty. Why?

Blue Angels commander Capt. Gregory McWherter was a two-time commander of the elite precision Navy flying team. But the former Blue Angels commander was relieved of duty Friday due to unspecified misconduct allegations.

By , Associated Press

A Navy officer was relieved of duty Friday because of unspecified alleged misconduct while he was commanding officer of the Blue Angels precision flying team, the service said.

Capt. Gregory McWherter was removed from his post as executive officer of Naval Base Coronado, where he had served since November, officials said in a statement.

An investigation continued into recent allegations of an "inappropriate command climate" at the Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron based at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., the statement said.

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The allegations refer specifically to the period when McWherter served as Blue Angels commanding officer, from November 2008 to November 2010 and again from May 2011 to November 2012.

The probe, led by an admiral who the Navy declined to identify, began in March and results from a complaint filed by one person, said Cmdr. Mike Kafka, a spokesman for the Naval Air Force Atlantic Command based in Norfolk, Va.

Kafka said in an interview with the Pensacola News Journal () that there are no changes to the Blue Angels 2014 air show and practice schedule "at this time."

McWherter has been temporarily reassigned to Naval Air Forces in San Diego. A call seeking comment from McWherter was not immediately returned.

An Atlanta native and graduate of The Citadel, McWherter is an F/A-18 pilot with multiple tours in combat squadrons, including three deployments aboard the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk, according to U-T San Diego (). He is a graduate of the Navy's Fighter Weapons School, known as Top Gun, and won the 2003 Commander Naval Air Forces Leadership Award. He was also VFA-131's Pilot of the Year in 1996.

The U-T San Diego notes:

In recent years, the Navy has not been shy about publicizing it when commanding officers are removed from their positions. Leaders say that they hold people in command to high standards of behavior.

The Blue Angels are on the front lines of public opinion, representing the Navy at air shows around the country. The team was grounded last year due to sweeping defense budget cuts but is expected to perform a schedule of shows this year.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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