A bomber maintenance squadron commander recently lost her job at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, just two days before a mobility wing commander at Joint Base Charleston, S.C., lost his. Their firings add to the string of leaders whose ousters have gone public so far this year.
Lt. Col. Kristen Shadden, head of the 7th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Dyess, was ousted by 7th Bomb Wing boss Col. Jose Sumangil on March 29 when he lost confidence in her ability to lead, wing spokesman Tech. Sgt. David Scott-Gaughan said Friday. Shadden took charge of the squadron, which repairs B-1B Lancer bombers, in June 2019.
“Loss of confidence” is the Air Force’s catch-all explanation for why a leader might be fired, without offering specifics.
Shadden was reassigned to a different unit at Dyess, pending a decision to send her elsewhere, Scott-Gaughan said. An unnamed interim commander will take over until a permanent replacement arrives.
Before moving to Dyess, Shadden served as commander of the 5th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Minot AFB, N.D., which works on B-52H Stratofortress bombers.
“There has been no allegation of misconduct warranting a criminal investigation,” Scott-Gaughan said. “The decision to remove Lt. Col. Shadden came after the 7th Bomb Wing commander carefully considered what he felt was best for airmen and the mission.”
Shortly after Shadden was fired, the head of a C-17 wing at Joint Base Charleston, S.C., was removed from his post as well.
Col. Jaron Roux, commander of the 437th Airlift Wing, lost his job April 1 following an investigation into substantiated claims of “unprofessional relationships and fraternization,” 18th Air Force said in a release.
“Commanders are placed in a special position of trust and are expected to exemplify the highest standards of conduct personally and professionally,” said 18th Air Force boss Maj. Gen. Kenneth Bibb. “I must have complete confidence in our wing commanders to lead airmen, maintain good order and discipline, and execute the mission in an environment where professional relationships and the Air Force core values serve as the foundation for our actions.”
Col. Christopher Robinson, the wing’s vice commander, took over as interim commander April 1.
Roux was reassigned to Air Mobility Command headquarters at Scott AFB, Ill. Before coming to the 437th Airlift Wing, he served as vice commander of the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing at Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates. He has amassed more than 4,100 hours piloting the C-17 airlifter, KC-10 tanker, and various trainer aircraft, according to his official biography.
On March 4, the 309th Aircraft Maintenance Group at Hill AFB, Utah, lost its commander for the second time in less than a year. Lt. Col. Aaron Rivers is now the group’s third boss in 11 months, Air Force Times previously reported.
And on Feb. 26, Col. Timothy Danielson was also booted from his job overseeing the 71st Flying Training Wing at Vance AFB, Okla., due to “a loss of trust and confidence.”
“Commanders must uphold the highest standards and create and maintain a proper environment in their unit,” Air Education and Training Command boss Lt. Gen. Brad Webb said at the time. “Our airmen, families and the critical mission of training future pilots and leaders deserve nothing less.”
Rachel Cohen is the editor of Air Force Times. She joined the publication as its senior reporter in March 2021. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Frederick News-Post (Md.), Air and Space Forces Magazine, Inside Defense, Inside Health Policy and elsewhere.