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Air Force assistant vice chief fired over unprofessional relationship

March 17, 2016 (Photo Credit: Air Force)

This story, originally published at 6:48 p.m. on March 17, has been updated.

The Air Force assistant vice-chief of staff has been removed after an Inspector General investigation found he exchanged inappropriate emails with a female lieutenant colonel. 

The emails, sent between March 2010 and May 2011, showed that Lt. Gen. John Hesterman and the Air Force female corresponded in what the IG concluded was an "unprofessional relationship," according to an Air Force statement. 

Between July 2010 and June 2011, Hesterman was the deputy commander of U.S. Air Forces Central Command, at a time when the U.S. was overseeing the air war in Afghanistan and Iraq. He also served as the deputy commander of the Combined Force Air Component and vice commander of the 9th Air Expeditionary Task Force, Air Combat Command, in Southwest Asia, according to his biography. 

Hesterman, a major general at the time of the misconduct, relinquished his duties Thursday, and filed his paperwork for retirement. 

Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein, who issued the reprimand, initiated the process on whether Hesterman will keep his stars, the release said. 

An initial complaint alleges Hesterman made advances on the female lieutenant colonel while she and her husband, an Air Force colonel at the time, were both stationed at RAF Lakenheath, England, according to the IG report. Hesterman was the commander of the 48th Fighter Wing between June 2007 and August 2008. 

The investigation notes that while there was no evidence of "physical contact" the husband believes "the affairs and marital problems had begun during his 'Lakenheath days'."

The statement did not identify the female lieutenant colonel, nor did it specify her current whereabouts. 

Hesterman made lieutenant general on Nov. 17, 2011. He and his wife of over 22 years have one daughter, the report said.

An Air Force spokeswoman called Hesterman on behalf of Air Force Times, but he could not be reached for comment. 

The Air Force said the investigation did not uncover any additional misconduct. 

 

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