"CULTURAL ISSUES" CITED AS ONE OF REASONS
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Heather Cole will never make flag rank now.
The long-in-the-tooth former commander of Strategic Communications Wing 1 at Tinker AFB in Okla. has been around some 35 years - ever since she won her wings as a Naval aviator at Pensacola.
A graduate of the University of Texas, and one of the stars of female Navy flyers in the 1990's, Cole's only career move left is to put in her papers and retire.
A FEW HINTS AT WHAT HAPPENED
In a standard press release, Navy flaks cited the usual boiler-plate - you know: yadda, yadda, yadda about a "loss of confidence" in the officer's "ability to lead." But we noticed a few more details leaking out than usual.
"Significant issues" were cited within the wing. Cole, it was said, had "not performed up to the usual standards of a commanding officer." We even heard that "cultural issues" figured into the relief of command.
However, no hint of sexual hanky-panky here. Cole was regarded as a pretty cold fish. After all these years, the Ferris, Tex. native can get out on the golf links and enjoy a fairly fat pension.
VICE ADM Mike Shoemaker pulled the trigger on Cole, and has replaced her with CAPT Brian McCormick, who was the female captain's deputy. He is now Acting Wing Commander of the unit charged with providing communication links between the President and nuclear-armed subs, bombers and land-based missiles.