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Air Force: Langley F-22 Raptor Maintenance Chief Relieved

Two F-22 Raptors move into the Langley Air Force Base pattern Friday, March 3, 2006 (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Ben Bloker)
Two F-22 Raptors move into the Langley Air Force Base pattern Friday, March 3, 2006 (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Ben Bloker)

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — The officer in charge of the squadron that maintains F-22 fighter jets at Joint Base Langley-Eustis has been relieved of his command, the Air Force said Wednesday.

Lt. Col. Ivan Pennington, who has commanded the 1st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron for nearly two years, was removed from his command March 25 after the Air Force said it lost confidence in his ability to command and lead his unit.

"It's unfortunate that I've had to relieve an officer who has had an otherwise commendable career," Col. Pete Fesler, 1st Fighter Wing commander, said in a written statement. The statement did not elaborate on Pennington's removal.

Asked by The Associated Press if any specific incident led to Pennington's removal, a public affairs officer said the Air Force does not discuss the reasons for an administrative action. Senior leaders are expected to "maintain the highest standards of leadership and professionalism," Capt. Kevin Whitlatch wrote in an emailed response.

"Lt. Col. Pennington was removed from command for failing to meet these high standards," he added.

A telephone listing could not be found for Pennington in either Hampton or Newport news.

The nearly 400 aircraft maintenance and support personnel of the 1st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron are responsible for the 45 F-22 Raptors based at Langley. They ensure the fighter jets are "mission ready" for combat deployment, the Air Force said.

The Air Force said Maj. Jason Moehle has been named interim commander of the squadron.

Whitlatch said Pennington had been scheduled to command another maintenance squadron. "That assignment has been canceled and his next assignment has yet to be determined at this time," he said.

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