Category Archives: Fighter Pilot

Three Female Generals and Air Force Pilots Posed for a Picture in February. Two Have Now Been Fired.

Two-star MajGen Dawn Dunlop was, until May 31st, the director of the Defense Department’s Special Access Programs Central Office. (That’s the office that handles programs so secretive they require even more clearances than usual — “special access.”)  According to the Pentagon, Gen Dunlop was removed in response to an ongoing IG investigation. Anonymous sources quoted in the article indicated Gen Dunlop created a “toxic” leadership environment.

Gen Dunlop was feted as the Air Force’s highest ranking female fighter pilot.

This was a month after BrigGen Kristin Goodwin was fired from her position at the US Air Force Academy — also during an IG investigation apparently regarding her leadership style and treatment of subordinates.

Interestingly, both BrigGen Goodwin and MajGen Dunlop recently took a photo with Read more

Commander Who Fired Female Pilot Has His Own Checkered History

In February, the Air Force fired Captain Zoe Kotnik, who had been hyped (some would say over-hyped) as “the first woman to lead one of the flying force’s demonstration teams.” She’d led the team for two weeks.

While no reason was ever given for the move, US Air Force Col Derek “Maestro” O’Malley, who fired her, said in part

We have thousands of Airmen across our Air Force serving our country, and not one of them is perfect. As good people, like Capt. Kotnik make mistakes, I want them to have the opportunity to learn from them without being under public scrutiny, and to continue to be a part of this great service. They’ll be better for the experience, and in turn, we’ll be better as an Air Force.

The unusually long statement, as well as the concept of recovering from a mistake (one so egregious it led to a public removal), attracted particular attention because Col O’Malley is well-known in the Air Force’s F-16 community, and beyond, as the “Gold Bond guy.”

In 2004, then-Captain O’Malley made a spoof comedy video about Gold Bond powder that was, to put it lightly, rather crude. In fact, given today’s “Me Too” mentality, O’Malley would Read more

Naming Ceremony Got Three AF Commanders Fired

The Naming Ceremony — long a fighter pilot tradition — has apparently wound its way into the earliest stages of a pilot’s career. A Naming Ceremony for student pilots at Laughlin AFB, Texas, ultimately contributed to a squadron commander, group commander, and wing commander getting fired:

In a rare action, the Air Force said Wednesday it had relieved three commanders at Laughlin AFB in Del Rio.

The move came in the wake of incidents in the past year that included a female pilot being given a vulgar name during a drinking ritual and another Read more

Thunderbird Pilot Dies in Crash in Nevada

A US Air Force F-16 pilot who was a member of the Thunderbird demonstration team has died as a result of a crashduring [a] routine training” flight:

“A U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds pilot was killed when his F-16 Fighting Falcon crashed over the Nevada Test and Training Range today at approximately 10:30 a.m. during a routine aerial demonstration training flight,” the Wednesday statement said.

The pilot was Read more

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