Air Force General Denied Promotion, Forced to Retire After Misconduct Probe

Air Force Brig. Gen. Paul W. Tibbets IV
Air Force Brig. Gen. Paul W. Tibbets IV

A U.S. Air Force brigadier general has been forced to retire without a promotion after an investigation substantiated several incidents of misconduct during his career.

Brig. Gen. Paul W. Tibbets IV, will not receive his second star and will begin terminal leave next month after the investigation determined he made inappropriate comments to fellow airmen, and used a government vehicle for personal reasons, among other claims, the Air Force confirmed Thursday.

Tibbets is grandson of then-Col. Paul Tibbets Jr., who during World War II dropped the uranium bomb known as "Little Boy" over Hiroshima, Japan.

"Following concerns raised in May 2017, the Air Force Inspector General initiated an investigation into allegations of misconduct by Brig. Gen. Paul Tibbets IV during his command of the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri," service spokeswoman Erika Yepsen said in an email.

"The investigation substantiated several allegations of misconduct: Making inappropriate comments regarding women on two occasions; failure to properly report information about suicide attempts through his chain of command on four occasions; violation of policy for use of a government vehicle; and failure to report the value of autographed photographs celebrities gave him," she said.

Given the outcome of the investigation, then-commander of Air Force Global Strike Command Gen. Robin Rand issued Tibbets a letter of admonishment and withheld his promotion, Yepsen said.

"Brig. Gen. Tibbets will begin terminal leave Oct. 19 and retire as a brigadier general effective Dec. 1, 2018," she said.

Tibbets was the commander of the 509th Bomb Wing, a B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber unit, between June 2015 and July 2017, according to his official biography. He then became the deputy Commander of Air Force Global Strike Command at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, and was later named the deputy commander of Air Forces Strategic-Air out of U.S. Strategic Command, the biography says.

General Tibbets received his commission through the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1989. Tibbets has flown the B-1B Lancer and B-52H Stratofortress as well as the B-2 and has more than 4,000 flying hours.

The news of Tibbets' departure over various allegations first circulated on social media on the popular but unofficial Air Force Amn/Nco/Snco Facebook page. The Air Force did not address the social media posts directly in their statement.

-- Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @oriana0214.

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