Military

Air Pressure Fires Three Commanders at Texas Base Amid Stories of ‘Harmful Conduct’

Three commanders at one of many Air Pressure‘s lead pilot coaching wings had been relieved of command Wednesday after incidents of harmful conduct and fostering a threatening surroundings at Laughlin Air Pressure Base, Texas, had been reported up the chain of command.

Lt. Gen. Steven Kwast, commander of Air Schooling and Coaching Command (AETC), relieved Col. Charles Velino, commander of the 47th Flying Coaching Wing, together with the operations group commander and the flying coaching squadron commander, the service stated in a launch.

“The prior command staff chronically didn’t appropriately look after folks and the mission,” Kwast stated within the launch. “They didn’t appropriate an evolving state of affairs that led to an surroundings the place some airmen didn’t really feel secure or revered.”

The firings comply with command-directed investigations that exposed a number of management failures, the discharge stated.

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“By failing to handle incidents of harmful conduct and a threatening surroundings, irresponsible alcohol consumption, and disrespectful therapy of some college students, these leaders didn’t set up and implement a tradition that upheld our Air Pressure core values,” Kwast stated.

Whereas not named within the announcement, Col. Robert Pekarek had assumed command of the 47th Operations Group at Laughlin in June 2017, in keeping with an Air Pressure launch. The service confirmed he was relieved of command this week.

AETC spokeswoman Jennifer Gonzalez informed Navy.com that officers wouldn’t launch the identify of the coaching commander due to privateness issues.

The 47th Flying Coaching Wing is a significant unit that oversees T-1A Jayhawk, T-6A Texan II and T-38C Talon pilot coaching underneath the 19th Air Pressure, headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph.

Kwast decided the staff didn’t take “applicable actions to reply to, appropriate and report incidents of officer misconduct,” the discharge stated.

Maj. Gen. Patrick Doherty, commander of the 19th Air Pressure, directed a preliminary inquiry “instantly when he grew to become conscious of allegations of misconduct on the wing,” it continued. A timeframe for the incidents, in addition to the scope of the investigations, was not given.

Whereas a number of investigations had been carried out, AETC stated it had not discovered a pattern of unhealthy command environments throughout the 19th Air Pressure. The investigations have concluded, however the studies is not going to be launched publicly for a while, Gonzalez stated.

Velino was answerable for greater than 2,800 personnel conducting joint specialised undergraduate pilot coaching for Air Pressure and allied officers, in keeping with his official biography, together with greater than 210 coaching plane. Previous to this task, Velino was the 15th Operations Group commander at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. He has greater than 3,700 flight hours within the T-37 Tweet, T-1, C-17A Globemaster III and C-40.

Col. Lee Gentile has changed Velino as the brand new wing commander, AETC stated. He was the previous vice commander of the 71st Flying Coaching Wing at Vance Air Pressure Base, Oklahoma, which additionally conducts undergraduate pilot coaching.

Kwast emphasised the significance of making certain a secure working surroundings.

“I take this accountability severely, and I need our airmen to know their leaders might be held accountable for failing to implement a secure {and professional} surroundings,” he stated. “Our airmen, households and the important mission of the 47th … deserve engaged and efficient leaders of the very best caliber per our core values.

“In the end, each commander is answerable for imposing good order and self-discipline and holding these accountable who don’t stay as much as the professionalism we count on of our airmen,” Kwast continued. “The command staff at Laughlin was not main a wholesome tradition of accountability, dignity and respect.”

— Oriana Pawlyk will be reached at oriana.pawlyk@navy.com. Observe her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.

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