MARINE LT COLONEL FIRED (SCAPEGOATED) AT
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This has been a bad year for Marine Corps Aviation.
Just a few months ago, two CH-53 Super Stallian choppers collided, killing 12 Marines. That would have gotten the unit's commander, Lt. Col. Edward Pavelka, fired on the spot, except that he was relieved three days before the April 2016 accident.
Now, the third USMC Aviation C. O. to lose his job this year, has just got his walking papers. Sources at Miramar tell us Lt. Col. Michael Hernandez wasn't perfect, but he got a raw deal when the 26-year military veteran was sacked at Marine Corps Aviation Logistics Squadron 11 last week.
We're always sorry to see a "Mustang" officer get the boot, especially this light colonel, who served six years in the Corps and was a buck sergeant NCO before earning a college degree in 1996 at the University of Texas.
BAD TIME TO BE AN AVN COMMANDER
Please note that a Marine Corps flak confirmed Hernandez is "not under investigation for any alleged misconduct." No rape, kiddie porn or other bad stuff that will end your career and perhaps send you to the DB. No, Hernandez had the misfortune to be a commander at a time when Marine Aviation is in a crisis situation. He was scapegoated.
In April, Lt. Col. Armando Gonzalez was fired after a command investigation found he had fostered a hostile work environment at Marine Support Squadron 371 at Yuma, Arizona. As for Pavelka, his outfit was so "dysfunctional," there were days it could not put a single chopper into the air.
Maybe if the top brass had put more emphasis on swiftly getting spare parts to the aging USMC helicopter fleet, some of the lack of readiness could have been alleviated. But whatever happens now, it is too late for Hernandez, who gave the better part of 30 years to the Corps. Semper Fi.