Latest military officer under investigation: Are we looking at necessary housecleaning or a purge?

Conservatives have noticed that the Pentagon is firing officers left and right, with many leaving under an embarrassing cloud.  The question they ask — and I don’t know that anyone has an answer — is whether these firings are the legitimate and appropriate housecleaning that a sclerotic bureaucracy needs or whether they’re a purge, with Obama’s New Age, gender flexible, fighting optional military getting rid of people in command positions who actually think that the military’s job is to wage war in America’s defense.

All I know is that the latest person being investigated as a predicate to an inevitable firing is someone I’ve actually met.  Back in October 2009, I got the opportunity to attend a party that had, as its guests, members of the Blue Angels.  I wrote about it here.  I also included a photograph I took of all the guys (plus two gals) lined up:

photo (5)
Please take special notice of the guy in the center (or more accurately, sixth from the left). We spent a few minutes speaking with him and found him to be — as all these officers were — personable, intelligent, and respectful.

Now, though, a debate rages about just how respectful this specific officer actually was:

Capt Gregory McWherter Blue Angel

A former commanding officer of the U.S. Navy’s flight demonstration squadron, the Blue Angels, has been removed from his current post after accusations that he ‘tolerated an inappropriate work environment.’

Capt. Gregory McWherter allowed, and in some cases encouraged, sexually explicit humor and inappropriate comments among members of the famed precision flying team, the U.S. Navy contended on Wednesday.

McWherter was relieved of duty as executive officer of Naval Base Coronado on Friday after a complaint was filed with the Navy’s inspector general about an ‘inappropriate command climate’ at the Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron based at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida.

During his two stints as Blue Angels leader between 2008 and 2012, McWherter ‘tolerated an inappropriate work environment within the squadron which may have violated the Navy’s sexual harassment, hazing and equal opportunity policies,’ a Navy statement 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,’ and that ‘pornographic images were displayed in the workplace and shared in electronic communications,’ the statement said.

Significantly, McWherter got a strong vote of support from a woman who served under his command:

‘At one point there was a command survey and one came back that men didn’t treat women fairly,’ Melinda Cary, who served under McWherter during 2006 to 2008, told The News Journal.

‘The first thing he did was bring us to talk about who was telling jokes. And he went out, and, I guess, set them straight. He followed up and made sure we weren’t still having trouble.’

Maybe McWherter is a sexist pig who ought never to have been allowed a command. Or maybe he’s an old-fashioned warrior who is making too much trouble in a modern military determined to serve as a giant Leftist social experiment, rather than hewing to its traditional responsibility as America’s protector.

(To see a better picture of McWherter, click on over to the Daily Mail article.  For some reason, I’m  not able to upload new photos to my site this morning.)

UPDATE: I was finally able to upload a picture of McWherter.

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  • jj

    That’s amusing, and inclines me strongly to believe it’s all BS.  That mealy-mouthed collection of weasel words, “inappropriate work environment” is exactly what the Navy said about why Admiral Chuck Gaouette was relieved, too.  (When they finally said anything, months after the fact.)  Nobody ever really knows what it means but it sounds like… something pretty serious.  (Or I guess it’s supposed to.  To me it sounds like what I said: mealy-mouthed BS.)
    Gaouette, (whom I would know if I fell over, as he would know me), always struck me as among the softest-spoken people around.  The only negative opinion he ever mentioned to me about anything was about the Canadian navy, with which he is not impressed.  (Three rowboats, seven canoes, and eleven kayaks.)  He was accused, in a roundabout way (within the parameters of the mealy-mouthed BS), of being a sort of closet racist in his conduct, in those same terms McWherter was accused of excessively liking girls.  (If that’s what the mealy-mouthed BS about sexual misconduct amounts to.)  McWherter’s work environment evidently permitted dirty jokes; Gaouette’s maybe permitted watermelon jokes.  I never saw Gaouette on the bridge of anything he commanded, or on the admiral’s bridge of Stennis in charge of a battle group, maybe the man’s an animal at sea;  but my experience of him would add up to: “not bloody likely.”
    (To move off point for a moment.  I have read in more than one place that he was fired – which is what it amounts to – for being a little too aggressively inclined to go do something about events as they transpired that night in Benghazi.  This is incorrect: Stennis, her planes, and battle group were at the time well out of range to the east, and couldn’t have done anything even had their commander strenuously wished to do so.  They were in transit, and were over halfway to their Mid-east station from Bremerton, but not that much more than halfway there.  F/A-18s need a lot of help to operate thousands of miles from their home deck, and therefore mostly don’t operate at that sort of range.  There were plenty of assets a good deal closer – which Chuck, commander of the group, knew perfectly well.  Now, I suppose it’s entirely possible he rang up the Pentagon and said something like, “what the f**k is wrong with you ass****s, why aren’t we doing something?” which might have gotten him in trouble with Madame Fat-ass and her minions, but that would be his only relationship to Benghazi: talking about it.  And probably a good deal more temperately than I just did.  But talking about things, no mistake, can be a sin in the military.)
    (And to digress onto another issue about which I’ve been asked: I was raised better than that.  He’s never seen fit to bring it up, so you may safely bet that I’ve never brought it up.  And I will not bring it up, have not asked, and will not ask why the Navy did what it did to him.)
    I don’t know what the Navy wants to be, and am fairly certain the Navy doesn’t know what it wants to be, either.  I come down in several ways on this myself, but my ultimate goal is that I want a Navy that can kick the ass of every other navy on the planet, and maybe be able to do it to more than one of them – like Russia and China, when that becomes, as it inevitably will, necessary – simultaneously.  I do not, in other words, give one good goddam what somebody who’s good at that job – it is the only job –  makes jokes about.  I don’t care if they’re funny jokes, off-putting jokes, or sick jokes: I just want him to put his bombs on target.  I don’t care if he’s a sexist pig.  I don’t care what he thinks about Jesse Jackass.  I don’t care what he thinks about Jugears or Fat-ass.  All that does not have a thing to do with how well he drives his plane.
    And the Navy better pull its collective head out and decide what its doing.  I’m with Norman Schwarzkopf: you have a military to kill people and break things.  That’s what they do.  And it should be all they do, and they should be left alone to develop the means to do it as efficiently as possible.  Political correctness doesn’t enter into it.  They are not a social experiment, as democrats seem never to understand.  (With one exception: June 24, 1940, when republicans voted to integrate the armed forces.  Roosevelt wouldn’t do it, it had to wait until 1952 when Truman could get the credit.)  Why we persist in treating them as a social experiment I don’t know, but every time we engage in some such BS all we accomplish is to degrade the forces, and eliminate very good people, and we do so all in the witless interests of political correctness.

  • JohnC

    Progressives think the military is just college with guns and uniforms.
    And that’s how they want its business conducted.

  • Spartacus

    At one of the Army schools I attended, one of our classmates was Special Forces.  Creative problem solvers, those SF guys, with a zero-tolerance policy for political “correctness.”  But Army policy at the time required each soldier to ascertain the sensibilities of his or her audience before sharing something that might ruffle some feathers:  the raciness of the jokes you could tell was determined by what your audience would tolerate.  Really just a codification of basic decency, but it was in the regs, and regs are regs.  Our SF guy’s solution?  He would begin each hair-curling joke with a mischievous grin and the line, “Would anyone be offended if I told the following joke…”  His careful observance of the letter of the regulations while mocking them in practice just made it that much funnier.

  • Ymarsakar

    Your upload is sexist. Report it to the human resources department and get it straightened out, so it starts uploading.
    As for whether it is a purge, inside sources have yet to say anything. Check with external civilian sources then.

  • Danny Lemieux

    It brings to mind Stalin’s purge of the Red Army’s leading officers immediately prior to Hitler’s invasion (oops!).
    Today, of course, our smiley-faced fascists don’t have to shoot them in the back of the head, they just have to smear their reputations and strip them of their livelihood and service.

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