Metro-East News

New Scott AFB commander named after colonel was ousted amid misconduct accusations

Col. James Morgan, 6th Operations Group commander, hands the 6th Operations Support Squadron’s unit flag to Lt. Col. Leslie Maher during a change of command ceremony at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., on April 29, 2011.
Col. James Morgan, 6th Operations Group commander, hands the 6th Operations Support Squadron’s unit flag to Lt. Col. Leslie Maher during a change of command ceremony at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., on April 29, 2011.

A colonel will soon take the helm as the new commander of the 375th Air Mobility Wing at Scott Air Force Base after the previous commander was ousted amid sexual misconduct allegations.

Col. Leslie A. Maher will assume command at 10 a.m. Feb. 20 during an Assumption of Command ceremony at the base, according to a spokesman for the wing.

Col. John Howard was commander of the 375th Air Mobility Wing until mid-December, when Lt. Gen. Giovanni Tuck, commander of the 18th Air Force, replaced him with another colonel, saying he lost confidence in Howard’s ability to lead the wing.

The vice commander for the wing, Col. W. Chris Buschur, temporarily replaced Howard as commander.

Prior to her appointment as commander of the 375th, Maher served as commander of the Joint Task Force-Port Opening, which specializes in establishing hubs for cargo distribution operations worldwide. She also served as commander for the 6th Operations Support Squadron at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, in addition to serving as commander of the 621st Contingency Response Wing at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey.

ColJohnHoward
Col. John Howard, former commander of the 375th Air Mobility Command at Scott Air Force Base, was replaced after the 18th Air Force commander lost confidence in him. Scott Air Force Base

Details about the alleged misconduct continue to remain under wraps as the investigation continues. Base officials have said the confidentiality of the investigation is in place “to ensure the integrity of the process.”

The Air Force Office of Special Investigations will lead the investigation, according to 18th Air Force spokesman Capt. Ryan DeCamp. The investigations unit is a federal law enforcement agency for the Air Force that only investigates potential felony-level crimes, according to unit spokeswoman Linda Card.

Once the unit completes its investigation, it provides the information to the appropriate commander, who makes a decision about whether to issue punishment or apply for charges.

Kelsey Landis: 618-239-2110, @kelseylandis

  Comments