USAF Sacks Three Laughlin Commanders

The U.S. Air Force has relieved the commander of the  47th Flying Training Wing at Laughlin AFB outside Del Rio, after accusing Col. Charles Velino with 'chronic leadership failures,' News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

The Air Education and Training Command, based at Randolph AFB, also relieved two of Col. Velino's subordinates, AETC Commander Lt. Gen. Steven Kwast said.

The other officers relieved were the operations group commander and a flying training squadron commander.  Their names were not released.

A Colonel from Vance Air Force Base Oklahoma, Lee Gentile, was named to succeed Velino, effective immediately.

“The prior command team chronically failed to appropriately care for people and the mission,” said Kwast. “They failed to correct an evolving situation that led to an environment where some Airmen did not feel safe or respected.”

Kwast cited repeated incidents of 'officer misconduct' in the 47th FTW, including an 'evolving situation that led to an environment where some Airmen did not feel safe or respected.'  He said.

“All Airmen who come to work for this Air Force should feel respected, protected and connected with their teammates and their mission,” said Kwast. “As the commander of AETC, I take this responsibility seriously and I want our Airmen to know their leaders will be held accountable for failing to enforce a safe and professional environment.”

The General said, “ultimately, every commander is responsible for enforcing good order and discipline and holding those accountable who do not live up to the professionalism we expect of our Airmen. The command team at Laughlin was not leading a healthy culture of accountability, dignity and respect.”

Kwast determined the command team did not take appropriate actions to respond to, correct and report incidents of officer misconduct at the south Texas pilot training base.

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