Col. David Owens, commander of the 317th Airlift Wing at Dyess Air Force Base in Texas, was removed from command after an investigation substantiated allegations he had created a “toxic environment.”

According to a release from the 18th Air Force at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, Owens was relieved “due to the creation of an unhealthy work environment that impacted the commander’s ability to lead effectively.”

The investigation also found he had “failed to establish and maintain a healthy command climate,” and 18th Air Force commander Lt. Gen. Giovanni Tuck removed him after losing trust and confidence in his ability to command.

In an email, 18th Air Force spokesman Capt. Ryan DeCamp said the non-criminal investigations confirmed the existence of a toxic command climate, and substantiated allegations that he had “inappropriately degraded and insulted individuals.”

Col. David Owens was removed from command of the 317th Airlift Wing at Dyess Air Force Base in Texas May 16 after an investigation found he failed to establish and maintain a healthy command climate and created a toxic environment. (Air Force)
Col. David Owens was removed from command of the 317th Airlift Wing at Dyess Air Force Base in Texas May 16 after an investigation found he failed to establish and maintain a healthy command climate and created a toxic environment. (Air Force)

“I am committed to ensuring we have the right leaders in place,” Tuck said in the release. “Our focus is on taking care of our airmen and civilians as we re-build the command climate in the 317th Airlift Wing.”

Col. Rhett Boldenow, the vice commander of the 317th, is now serving as interim commander.

The release said Owens has been temporarily detailed to the 7th Bomb Wing at Dyess while he awaits another assignment. The 317th has 1,200 personnel responsible for operating and maintaining its 28 C-130J aircraft.