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Air Force fires squadron commander after chief's drunk driving arrest

The squadron commander who had been reassigned after the unit's security forces manager was charged in a fatal drunk driving accident has been relieved from command, the 4th Fighter Wing announced in a statement.

Maj. Gilbert Wyche was relieved from command of the 4th Security Forces Squadron on Thursday by Col. Christopher Sage, commander of the 4th Fighter Wing at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina.

"After a thorough review of information regarding the events of Dec. 10, 2016, Sage lost confidence in Wyche's ability to effectively command the 4th Security Forces Squadron," the statement said. "Wyche will remain temporarily reassigned to the 4th Mission Support Group until he is transferred to another base."

On Dec. 10, Chief Master Sgt. Hector Soler, the 4th Security Forces Squadron's security forces manager, allegedly drove drunk and hit 17-year-old Johny Robert Watson. Watson died five days later.

An accident report states that Soler crashed into the back of Watson's Jeep at 70 mph around 11:20 p.m. Dec. 10, launching the Jeep 159 feet into a utility pole, according to a report by the Goldsboro News-Argus. Soler has been charged with felony death by motor vehicle, failure to reduce speed and driving while impaired with a blood alcohol content of 0.16, twice the legal limit in North Carolina.

Wyche was "temporarily reassigned" about a week later "due to the proximity of Maj. Wyche's and Chief Master Sgt. Soler's positions," a spokesman with the 4th Fighter Wing said at the time.

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