This story was updated Dec. 9, 2021, at 4:45 p.m. EST to include further details on Chief Master Sgt. Peter Tascione and on turnover at the squadron.
An aircraft maintenance squadron at Dyess Air Force Base in Texas is again shuffling its leadership in the wake of an ongoing misconduct investigation.
Col. James Young, 317th Airlift Wing commander, has removed Maj. April Widman and Chief Master Sgt. Peter Tascione from their respective jobs as commander and senior enlisted leader of the 317th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Dyess spokesperson Capt. Kayshel Trudell confirmed Wednesday.
Their removal brings in the squadron’s fifth commander in two-and-a-half years. At least three leaders at Dyess have now been fired so far this year.
Widman was booted Dec. 2 over a “loss of trust and confidence in her ability to effectively lead the men and women of the squadron,” Young said in a statement emailed by Trudell.
“Our wing is committed to instilling professional leadership characteristics, not only for leadership at the squadron level, but for every airman. At the end of the day, Air Force culture is one of professionalism, safety and success achieved only through teamwork and accountability,” he wrote.
According to a Task and Purpose investigation published Wednesday, Widman was ousted amid an inquiry into claims that she routinely mistreated airmen who sought medical and mental health care, and lashed out at an airman when Widman was angry at his spouse. She also drove four hours to serve separation paperwork to an airman who checked into a mental health clinic to recover from a suicide attempt, T&P reported.
Young declined to comment on the allegations.
“Based on multiple data points from various feedback mechanisms, I initiated an investigation to ensure accountable leadership and uphold the Air Force’s standards for professionalism and culture while affording all members due process,” he wrote. “As this is an ongoing investigation, additional information cannot be released at this time.”
Widman enlisted in the Air Force in 2000 and worked as a tanker boom operator and instructor before commissioning as an officer.
“I knew I wanted a flying job, nothing too dirty or fixing things,” Widman told the Tampa Bay Times in 2005.
She took command of the 317th AMXS, which repairs C-130J Super Hercules airlifters, in July 2020.
“I try to lead with compassion and an understanding that each situation and person is different,” she said in an Air Force release in March. “My experiences have allowed me to advocate for others like me. My advice to anyone who asks is that there is no one way to success, everyone’s path through life will look different and there is nothing wrong with asking for help along the way.”
Her successor, Maj. Charles Schulz, previously the head of the parallel 317th Maintenance Squadron at Dyess, took over as the aircraft maintenance squadron commander on Dec. 3. He is the fifth permanent or interim commander of the 317th AMXS since August 2019, when Lt. Col. Pete Leija was fired in the midst of his own investigation.
Tascione, the senior enlisted leader, was reassigned on Nov. 15, Trudell said. She did not disclose the circumstances, and declined to directly answer whether it is related to the investigation into Widman.
Tascione’s prior assignments include the 436th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Dover AFB, Delaware, where he fixed C-5 Galaxy jets and other transport planes. Senior noncommissioned officers in the squadron are sharing his duties until his replacement arrives in January, Young said.
The service did not answer what jobs Widman and Tascione are performing now.
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.