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Marine Corps Air Station Miramar fighter squadron commander fired for ‘poor judgement’

An F/A-18D Hornet with the "Vikings" of Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 225 takes flight during Exercise Winter Fury 18 at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar,on Nov. 30. Winter Fury lets the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing practice for future combat deployments. (U.S. Marine Corps)

The commanding officer of a San Diego-based Marine Corps fighter squadron was removed from command due to concerns of poor judgment, the Marines said in a statement Thursday.

Lt. Col. Ralph Featherstone took command of Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 225 in April 2019. He was fired Jan. 24.

According the 3rd Marine Air Wing’s statement, Featherstone was “relieved for cause following concerns of poor judgment.”

“The relief came as a surprise from an otherwise exceptionally performing commander with a long and distinguished career,” the statement says. “It is a necessity to enforce standards and is vital that 3rd MAW provides strong and effective leadership to promote operational excellence, trust, and combat readiness.”

Reached by phone Thursday, Air Wing Spokesman 1st Lt. Fredrick Walker told the Union-Tribune Featherstone is an “honorable Marine who upholds the values of the Marine Corps,” but declined to go into detail about what the causal factors were in the firing.

The squadron flies F/A-18s but is transitioning to the new F-35C Lightning II aircraft. An earlier 3rd Marine Air Wing statement said Featherstone’s squadron was set to celebrate its final F/A-18 flight on Jan. 23.

According to the Marine Corps Times, at that event an F/A-18D, with Featherstone in its rear seat, flew lower and faster than approved.

An interim officer-in-charge was assigned to finalize the squadron’s transition, the Marine Corps’ Thursday statement says.


© 2020 The San Diego Union-Tribune