Wednesday, June 04, 2014

McWherter, broken on the wheel in a shitstorm rife with petulant pouty pettines

Like the old saying goes, a Grand Jury can indict a ham sandwich. Likewise, if I take isolated incidents, assume that only one side's version is the truth, thrown in some time compression and excessively broad definitions, then I think no Commanding Officer in 2014 can survive any type of investigation.

If the person with an axe to grind happens to be of a protected class, even more so.

In a way, I'm at a loss of words, so I've attached the Command Investigation in to the allegations that destroyed the career and reputation of Captain Gregory McWherter, USN - former CO (twice) of the Blue Angels.

Is this inquisitional? Salemesque hysteria? I'm having trouble finding the right word, but mostly I come to this one; sad.

There is a lot going on here, and much of it is tainted with the worst agiprop social theory and Cultural Marxism of the far left in academia.

You know I like words. Searching the document about poor performance of a Blue Angels CO and we have homosexual mentioned 18 times, gay 4 times, and the first clue, support officer 13 times. Safety 8 times.

He's been smeared as a sexist homophobe ... all they left out was racist, but maybe I missed that.

In some ways, this is just another way to destroy the male oriented, warfighter, TACAIR culture. Tailhook was only the start - this has a similar genesis and is going to be used for the same agenda.

Ironically, the people who will be hurt most will be our female Shipmates - our fellow warfighters of all designators who know what the core of our business is, have a sense of humor, are secure in their womanhood, and as officers, are not going to break in to tears because they miss the drama of Middle School. 

It doesn't take long to figure out that this huge frag pattern that, like Tailhook, will destroy the careers of many good people and was started by a female support officer. Which one? Hard to tell ... but with googlefu, you can narrow it down to a few possibilities.

Not really important who though - complaining, weak, and entitled administrative burdens have always been with us. It is what the institution does with it that is important.

Is this proportional? Look it over and tell me.

The primary but unintended effect, again, of this will be to marginalize women in the eyes of their coworkers. I served with female F-18 pilots, ones who would cuss and make sexual innuendo enough to make, well, a Sailor blush. Do we reach back and do a CI on them now? If I am a young TACAIR pilot, do I even want to be seen near or talking to one? I'd think twice about it.

I'm only going to cover a small portion of this - but out of the gate - who authored the findings of facts? What amateur with less Fleet experience than my 13-yr old would use "CMC" instead of CMDCM? Yes, that is what we are looking at.

What kind of person thinks this is a bad thing?
"Newbies" are discouraged from "rocking the boat" and speaking their minds when arriving at the Blue Angels, potentially chilling those Sailors who wish to voice concerns. Rank structure and fleet experience are secondary to the amount of time spent on the team. The opinions of entrenched and established Blue Angels weigh more heavily than the opinions of newly reported personnel. In reality, enlisted members do not enjoy equal footing with their peers until after their first airshow season. Officers do not enjoy equal footing until they wear the blue flight suit, normally about two months after reporting. This is contrary to the chain of command's belief that the Blue Angels organization is so close and family-oriented that any member would feel comfortable bringing up a concern. The "Newbie" experience has induced the opposite effect.
OK, maybe I should end my support of Liberal Arts education for officers. Someone took too many Sociology electives with a lesbian, Cultural-Marxist feminist dogma and swallowed it whole;
Through an exclusive and elitist “boys club” mentality,
Ummmm ... I hope the Blue Angles are "exclusive and elitist." As for "Boys Club" in the pejorative way it is used - plenty of outstanding female officers who have served there disagree. 

Good googly moogly, is this what we have become - a Soviet style Navy where we denounce others and live in constant fear of the Commissariat?

It is hard to believe, but we are destroying good people's names - seriously you need to read the whole thing to see all the emotional and personal attacks on CAPT McWherter - to protect the feelings on the professionally insecure and perpetually butthurt?
The Ready Room was viewed as hierarchical, with the demonstration pilots taking precedence over all others, even though everyone had a vote. CAPT McWherter’s lack of action on things that appeared blatantly inappropriate as well as his reliance on a majority vote for most issues further instilled the mindset that voicing concerns was futile if you were not part of the “8 man.” Although not all aviators from the 2011
-2012 airshow seasons share culpability, there was a distinct difference in the way the aviators perceived the Ready Room vice the perception of the support officers. The demonstration pilots largely felt comfortable addressing personal and command concerns in the Ready Room and assumed that sense of comfort was shared among the other officers. However, the support officers did not feel comfortable addressing concerns without amassing a certain number of allies to help them persuade the group.
CAPT McWherter’s reaction further underscored the support officers’ discomfort with voicing theiropinions within the Blue Angels’ Ready Room.
During 2013 and before, several officers in the Ready Room believed others had “an axe to grind;” witnesses commonly identified [redacted] and , as those with such problems. These three individuals were support officers and not part of the “8-man.” These persons were also cited as examples of persons who were perceived to put their problems above loyalty to the team.
Ummmmm, Skippy - help me out here.
Sex, or topics related to sex, were frequently the subject of conversation at the performers’ table in the Ready Room during the 2011 – and particularly 2012 – Blue Angels airshow season. CAPT McWherter participated in these conversations actively and inactively (listening, laughing, nodding, etc.) in almost every case. Sharing pictures of various women, sexual humor, and engaging in conversations about women and their appearance served as a common ground between CAPT McWherter and his performers at the table. Rather than focus on professional matters or lead his team through productive, officer-worthy conversation pieces, he elected to find common ground in objectifying and demeaning behavior.
Is this really what we are telling a group of some of the best officers in any military in the world? That we question their honor, integrity, morality, or intelligence? That their opinion means nothing in the face of the "right" person making the "right" charges?
Officers of the Blue Angels during the 2011 and 2012 airshow seasons who hold the opinion that "there was nothing inappropriate or sexually offensive in the Ready Room" (or words to that effect) were either blind to the standard of what constitutes sexual harassment, oblivious to the things around them at the time, or otherwise biased towards support of CAPT McWherter at all costs. Their inability to understand and act according to the appropriate standard does not diminish or refute the reality that such conditions did in fact exist.
If I were CDR Frosch, I would be embarrassed in the extreme. Very bad form;
CDR Frosch has made strides to correct the hostile command climate while leading the Blue Angels through uncertainty during the sequestration in 2013 and a new airshow season this year.
Beyond. The. Pale.
84. While in the Ready Room, CAPT McWherter called to the side to privately discuss post. CDR Frosch was not present at the time, but other officers were. CAPT McWherter told that she should have addressed objection with him rather than making the post on GroupMe. He also indicated that he would direct the persons who made the posts to apologize to [redacted]. [redacted] began to cry during this conversation.

85. After discussion with CAPT McWherter, CDR Frosch saw [redacted] crying. He pulled to the side and told not to worry, this was not how he was going to do business, and for to “hang in there a couple of more weeks.”
What in the name of Crom is going on in our Navy?

No one, it seems, has spent much time around 1310/20s. Come on people, put down your smelling salts.
Homophobic Humor

120. There were frequent jokes and banter between the diamond pilots (#s 1 through 4) and the solo pilots (#s 5 and 6). The banter included overt homophobic references and derogatory tones toward homosexuals. [Encls: (5), (8), (11), (12), (15), (28), (32), (37), (39), (59)]

121. The homophobic banter was motivated largely by competition between the two groups (diamond pilots vs. solo pilots) and has reportedly been a fixture in the diamond-solo relationship dating back many years. [Encls: (5), (6), (9), (19), (41), (47)]

122. The diamond pilots, including CAPT McWherter, frequently called the solo pilots “gay” and vice-versa. [Encls: (5), (28), (39)]

123. The banter was not confined between the solo and diamond pilots; other members in the Ready Room also participated. The banter existed in person, in GroupMe texts, in homophobic decorations and pictures on the walls, and in maps and itineraries. [Encls: (8), (35), (47), (52), (59)]

124. CAPT McWherter acknowledges the prevalence of gay jokes in the Ready Room. [Encl: (5)]

125. Training addressing homosexual discrimination and harassment took place concurrent with the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. [Encls: (8), (13), (28), (29), (53)]
129. would frequently use his phone to show pictures of his girlfriends to other officers in the Ready Room. CAPT McWherter would actively participate in these conversations, would view the pictures, and when would go for a period without offering up the pictures, CAPT McWherter would request them out loud in front of everyone. [Encls: (5), (6), (8), (11), (12), (28), (32), (37)]

130. Some witnesses indicated that the photos shown by included nudity. [Encls: (4), (5), (41)]

131. Joking or banter about the women in the pictures would occur after the photo was shown. [Encls: (6), (11), (54)]
139. Although not readily apparent to those not in the vehicle, binoculars were provided to pilots for the purpose of scanning the crowd during their ride from the hangar to the jets during shows; circumstantially and based on the comments heard, most of the scanning involved the pilots searching for attractive women.
[Encls: (34), (63)]
By all means, increase Admin Overhead;
Add Opinion 41: “This investigation highlights the challenges that geographic distance may present to Chief of Naval Air Training as the Blue Angels’ immediate superior in command. To effectively manage this issue, Chief of Naval Air Training must vigilantly execute its oversight and command and control responsibilities regarding the Blue Angels.
4. The following action should be taken within six months of the first endorsement of this investigation.
a. Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, forward this investigation to Command Leadership School, Newport, RI, for inclusion in its curriculum.
b. Commander, Naval Air Forces Pacific, conduct an assist visit for formal review of the Blue Angels Cresting Process.
c. Chief of Naval Air Training, review and implement, as necessary, a standardized inspection cycle to include administrative, maintenance, and training programs at the Blue Angels. Additionally, review the oversight plan to cover the team while they are on travel to El Centro and during the airshow season. Consider unannounced spot checks and an ethics standdown in the plan.
Look at 4.a again. Fairly high opinion of his work.

As a side-note - and I say this with the greatest respect to the individuals involved; in the warfighter community, what would be the polar opposite from an F-18 pilot? If you guessed a nuke submariner with a large portion of his career in the SSBN community, you would be right. No way he understands the nuance of the Ready Room culture. Look at the signature page.

In the end analysis - a guy returned to fix a broken Blue Angels. He fixed them. He moved on. He was destroyed for iffy reasons, at best for his troubles.

Thank you for your service, indeed.

As for me an mine; CAPT McWherter, I'd love to hear your side of the story. Even if 100% of what the butthurt said is true, which is clearly in question, you don't deserve this kind of treatment.

If time proves me wrong, I'm OK with that. I'm willing to roll the dice on that benefit of the doubt.

Read it all below, I think you will too.

UPDATE: Skipper has 27 questions on this that are well worth your time to review.

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