The former top enlisted leader at Shaw Air Force Base’s 20th Fighter Wing was quietly relieved of his position last month after an investigation confirmed allegations of unprofessional and disrespectful leadership.
Chief Master Sgt. Jason Morehouse, who was the command chief of the 20th, was relieved on Oct. 2 by Col. Derek O’Malley, the wing commander, spokeswoman Capt. Amanda Herman said in an email Monday.
O’Malley had received credible evidence that Morehouse “was not treating others with professionalism, kindness and respect,” Herman said. A command-directed investigation confirmed those accusations, she said.
Morehouse is not performing duties for the 20th at the moment, and is awaiting his next assignment, Herman said. Shaw is located in South Carolina.
After Air Force Times inquired about Morehouse’s removal on Friday, the 20th on Monday posted an interview with O’Malley and the wing’s new command chief, Chief Master Sgt. Scott Cooley, on its website. The interview, titled “Creating the culture we’re proud of,” obliquely addressed Morehouse’s removal, although it did not refer to him by name.
In the interview, O’Malley emphasized the need for leaders to to treat people with compassion and to try to understand other people’s point of view, and said that was related to the removal of the wing’s previous command chief.
“My entire command focus has been about building a culture at Shaw where we are truly listening to our airmen, taking care of one another and treating each other with professionalism, kindness and respect,” O’Malley said in the interview. “I have made a commitment to my airmen and their families that I will do everything in my power to lead a wing that stands by our values at all times. This means I will never walk by a problem when it is brought to my attention.”
“When individuals on our team, particularly those in leadership positions, fail to treat people with professionalism, kindness and respect — I have a responsibility to take action, and in some cases, to remove them," O’Malley continued.
O’Malley also said that while airmen under his command will be held accountable for their actions, he also wants to maintain their privacy to give them a chance to learn from those mistakes.
“I know there will always be tension between transparency and privacy,” O’Malley said. “On my watch, I will absolutely hold people accountable for their actions, and the higher in rank we climb, the more accountable we become. … And while I hold people accountable, I will also protect their privacy as best I can, so they have the opportunity to learn and grow from their mistakes without additional scrutiny and hardship.”
Morehouse entered active duty in 1997, according to the Air Force Personnel Center, and is a four-time recipient of the Meritorious Service Medal, a three-time recipient of the Air Force Commendation Medal, and also received the Air Force Achievement Medal.
Stephen Losey is the air warfare reporter for Defense News. He previously covered leadership and personnel issues at Air Force Times, and the Pentagon, special operations and air warfare at Military.com. He has traveled to the Middle East to cover U.S. Air Force operations.