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Senior Air Force officer loses job over 'inappropriate' emails

Apr. 4, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
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A senior Air Force officer at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph in Texas was removed from his job in late March over a 2007 email exchange with the wife of a subordinate officer, the Air Force said.

Col. James Gifford Jr., the 12th Flying Wing’s vice commander, lost his job March 24. In 2007, he was a major serving as assistant operations director for a training squadron at Vance Air Force Base, Okla., said Lt. Col. Sean McKenna, a service spokesman.

The emails, which the Air Force described only as inappropriate, came to light this year, McKenna said. “An investigator was assigned to look into it,” he added. “No evidence of relationship was discovered.”

The wing’s commander, Col. Gerald Goodfellow, “couldn’t allow his vice commander to serve in that capacity after reading the correspondence,” McKenna said. “He deliberated and relieved his vice commander because he lost confidence in [Gifford’s] ability to lead the men and women in his unit.”

Gifford’s removal was first reported by the San Antonio Express-News.

The 12th Training Wing oversees multiple aviation training programs, including pilot instructor training, combat systems officer training, remotely piloted aircraft pilot indoctrination and airmanship for the Air Force Academy cadets, according to the wing’s website. It is also responsible for introductory flight screening of all officers entering pilot, combat systems officer and drone training.

Gifford, a refueling pilot, had served as vice commander of the wing since June 2012 and was promoted to colonel a month later, according to his biography. He has been reassigned to Air Education and Training Command headquarters.

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