USAF colonel relieved of command for berating subordinates for not flying in dangerous conditions


An F-35 Lightning II aircraft taxis in front of base operations at Tinker AFB, Oklahoma, Oct. 22, 2021. Twelve aircraft visited Tinker AFB to refuel while en route from Tyndall AFB, Florida, to Hill AFB, Utah. (U.S. Air Force photo by Paul Shirk)

A US Air Force colonel has been relieved of command at Oklahoma’s Tinker Air force Base after he berated his airmen for not flying a training mission in dangerous conditions.

Col. Gary Donovan was sacked from his command of the 552nd Operations Group at Tinker following an investigation.

According to Task & Purpose, Donovan reportedly failed to promote a culture of safety and a healthy command climate.

“We need the men and women of the 552nd Operations Group to foster a culture of dignity and respect,” said Maj. Gen. Michael Koscheski, Fifteenth Air Force commander, who relieved Donovan, in a statement on Tuesday. “This means living by Core Values every day and empowering subordinate leaders to promote these values through teaching, coaching and mentorship. It takes mutual respect to develop airmen, our most precious resource.”

The details on whether or not any additional administrative actions were taken against Donovan.

Col. Wayne Frost, the vice commander of the 552nd Air Control Wing, noted that Donovan has been moved to other roles at Tinker.

The issues surrounded short-notice changes to sleep schedules, as well as the improper distribution (or lack thereof) of medication used to aid aircrews in getting proper sleep.

The aircrews in question are of the 963rd Airborne Air Control Squadron, who fly the essential E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) jets.

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