Spangdahlem Wing Commander Relieved of Duty

Pete Bilodeau

Col. Peter M. Bilodeau, the commander of the 52nd Fighter Wing at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, was relieved of command on Tuesday after less than six months on the job because of loss of faith and confidence in his leadership, U.S. Air Forces in Europe announced.

Bilodeau, who was removed by Lt. Gen. Darryl Roberson, the commander of the 3rd Air Force, was not relieved for any misconduct or wrongdoing, according to USAFE.

"This was not an easy decision to make, but I believe it is in the best interest of the men and women of the 52nd Fighter Wing," Roberson said. "My primary focus remains on motivational mission accomplishment, compassionate care of airmen and their families, and the drive to constantly improve and innovate."

Roberson announced the appointment of Col. Lars R. Hubert, 52nd Fighter Wing vice commander, as interim wing commander until a replacement can assume full-time duties. Hubert has been vice commander since July 2013.

As the 3rd Air Force and 17th Expeditionary Air Force commander, Roberson oversees 10 wings in Europe and one air expeditionary wing within USAFE.

The 52nd Fighter Wing includes more than 5,500 military and civilian personnel who help maintain and deploy the unit's F-16 fighters and other military hardware.

The past year has been a busy one for the wing, which has been a part of U.S. European Command's efforts to reassure allies in eastern Europe in the wake of Russian aggression in Ukraine. For example, the 52nd has increased rotational missions in Poland as part of EUCOM's push to bolster the military presence in the region.

Bilodeau, a Distinguished Flying Cross recipient, flew F-16s at Spangdahlem for nearly three years in the late 1990s, when he served as an instructor pilot and assistant chief of weapons for the 23rd Fighter Squadron. Upon assuming command in July, Bilodeau shared his leadership style with the airmen who would serve under him.

"If you were looking for passive leadership, then you chose the wrong person," Bilodeau said at the time.

"[I]f you want to understand my leadership style, it would be 'if it's based on increasing combat capability, then you're doing the right thing and keep doing it.' If not, let's talk and let's work on trying to get better while taking care of our airmen and families," he added.

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