Fired Air Mobility Wing Commander Hasn't Switched Jobs Yet

Col. John O. Howard. Air Force photo
Col. John O. Howard. Air Force photo

A former Air Mobility wing commander under investigation for sexual misconduct may not be switching jobs on base just yet.

Col. John O. Howard, commander of the 375th Air Mobility Wing at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, was relieved of command Monday by Lt. Gen. Giovanni K. Tuck, commander of the 18th Air Force, according to a release.

Howard is currently under investigation for alleged sexual misconduct.

"Colonel Howard's next assignment has yet to be determined," Air Mobility Command spokesman Col. Chris Karns told Military.com in a statement Wednesday.

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Karn's statement follows media reports that the Air Force is considering moving Howard to another position in U.S. Transportation Command, known as TransCom, also located at Scott.

The Air Force Office of Special Investigations is conducting the investigation.

"While the investigation is ongoing, additional details surrounding the alleged misconduct cannot be released to ensure the integrity of the process. Airmen are innocent until proven guilty," the release said.

The Air Force did not specify when the investigation would conclude.

"When OSI embarks on an investigation, it is inherently a criminal investigation," a military lawyer told Military.com last year.

"It's driven by the nature of the allegation from the get-go," the lawyer said, speaking generally to military investigations. "We [the Air Force] can't take an allegation of sexual assault and turn it from a criminal investigation into an administrative one."

Whether the allegations could lead to a court-martial is uncertain at this time.

"It is important to allow the investigation to run its course to determine and understand all the facts associated with the case," Karns said. "The allegations are being taken very seriously and investigated as appropriate."

Howard oversaw more than 3,100 personnel, assets totaling more than $4 billion, and an annual budget exceeding $130 million, according to his official Air Force biography.

"We are ensuring we have a strong support structure around all airmen, to include Colonel Howard, who are affected by this case," Tuck said in the release. "Our focus continues to be on supporting the men and women of the 375th AMW as they execute the Air Mobility Command mission."

Prior to becoming the 375th commander in July, Howard was the vice commander of the 100th Air Refueling Wing at Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England, for roughly two years.

Col. W. Chris Buschur, 375th vice commander, has been appointed the 375th AMW commander in the interim.

-- Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.

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