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First Female Commander of Marine One Fired After Assault Charge

Lt. Col. Jennifer Grieves, 45, was relieved from command of Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 474 due to a loss of trust and confidence in her ability to continue to lead. (Marine Corps photo)
Lt. Col. Jennifer Grieves, 45, was relieved from command of Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 474 due to a loss of trust and confidence in her ability to continue to lead. (Marine Corps photo)

The Marine officer who was named a "person of the week" in 2009 when she became the first-ever aircraft commander of Marine One -- the presidential chopper -- has been fired from her current post, the Marine Corps announced Wednesday.

Lt. Col. Jennifer Grieves, 45, was relieved from command of Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 464, a CH-53E Super Stallion squadron out of Marine Corps Air Station New River, due to a loss of trust and confidence in her ability to continue to lead, according to a statement released by II Marine Expeditionary Force.

A spokesman for II MEF, Lt. Col. Michael Armistead, said Grieves was fired by Maj. Gen. Matthew Glavy, commander of 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, due to an off-duty incident that was not properly reported.

Grieves was arrested Dec. 16 at her home in Sneads Ferry, North Carolina, and charged with simple assault, Maj. C. D. Thomas of the Onslow County Sheriff's Office told Military.com. The incident happened around 3 a.m. and stemmed from a domestic argument, according to the arrest report. She was released on a $500 bond; the charge is still pending, Thomas said.

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Grieves, who enlisted in 1990 and would earn a commission eight years later, gained a level of celebrity when she became the first woman to ever command Marine One.

In 2009, ABC News named her a "person of the week" as she wrapped up her one-year tour in the post, reporting that her final flight featured an all-female crew. She also received a personal acknowledgment and send-off from then-President Barack Obama.

"As far as the female crews go, I was so incredibly proud of both of them when we came and landed," she told the outlet at the time. "Everything about [the flight] has probably made my Marine Corps career. And if I were to retire in six months, I would retire knowing that I've been part of an exceptional organization."

Grieves took command of HMH-464 in May 2015, according to her official biography. She previously served as a commander for other aircraft in Marine Helicopter Squadron 1, which supplies Marine One. After departing HMX-1 in 2009, she studied at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College. She would later deploy to Djibouti with HMH-461 out of New River in 2010 and to Afghanistan with HMH-464 in 2011.

Her awards include two Air Medals-Individual Action, three Meritorious Service Medals, five Air Medals-Strike/Flight, and the Combat Action Ribbon.

Grieves, who assumed command of the squadron in May 2016, has been replaced by Lt. Col Troy Callahan, formerly of Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron One (VMX-1), as commander of the squadron. Grieves will be reassigned within II Marine Expeditionary Force.

-- Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at hope.seck@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.

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Hope Seck Headlines Marine Corps Relieved of Command Women in the Military

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