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‘Wild Weasel’ maintenance squadron commander fired at Misawa

Lt. Col. Jason Moehle, the commander of the 35th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Misawa Air Base in Japan who oversaw maintenance of its famed “Wild Weasel” F-16s, was relieved of his duties Monday.

Col. Rognald Christensen, commander of the 35th Maintenance Group, fired Moehle “due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command,” said Col. Kristopher Struve, commander of the 35th Fighter Wing, in a statement Wednesday.

“A decision of this magnitude is never easy to make, but it’s the right decision in ensuring we’re maintaining the highest standards of leadership in the 35th Fighter Wing’s ranks,” Struve said.

According to information provided by the Air Force Personnel Center, Moehle took command of the squadron in June 2018. He entered active duty in June 2004 and commissioned through the Reserve Officer Training Corps program. He is a 21A aircraft maintenance officer whose decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal and the Air Force Achievement Medal.

Weapons load crew Airmen with the 35th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron arm an F-16 Fighting Falcon during a two-day surge exercise at Misawa Air Base, Japan, April 5, 2016. Along with standard maintenance to aircraft before and after flight, weapons load crew teams armed the aircraft to simulate a combat environment. During deployed operations, loading is essential for the F-16’s air-to-air combat and air-to-surface attacks. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jordyn Fetter)
U.S. airmen in Japan practice for potential conflict

“During surge operations, we're validating our wing's ability to generate [aircraft] in a simulated combat scenario,” said Capt. Josh Plocinski, the 14th Fighter Squadron chief of standardization and evaluation, in the press release.

The 35th Fighter Wing, which has 44 F-16CM Fighting Falcon aircraft, is the Air Force’s leading Wild Weasel organization. If a conflict were to erupt with a nation that possesses air defenses such as surface-to-air missiles, the Wild Weasels would likely be among the first sent in to take out those enemy defenses and clear the way for other aircraft.

Lt. Col. Clarence McRae has assumed command of the squadron until further notice.

CORRECTION: This story has been updated to remove an incorrect reference to a previous aircraft mishap.

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