Female Commander F-16 demo pilot relieved of command

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tbarlow

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Unread post12 Feb 2019, 21:00

https://www.military.com/daily-news/201 ... weeks.html

12 Feb 2019
Military.com | By Oriana Pawlyk
The first female commander of the U.S. Air Force's Viper demonstration team has been relieved of command after only a couple of weeks on the job.

Capt. Zoe Kotnik, an F-16 Fighting Falcon demonstration pilot at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, was removed from her post Monday, Air Force officials confirmed to Military.com. The news was first reported by Air Force Times.

"Capt. Zoe Kotnik, former Air Combat Command F-16 Viper Demonstration Team pilot, was relieved from her position as commander of the Viper Demonstration Team by Col. Derek O'Malley, the 20th Fighter Wing commander, due to a loss of confidence in her ability to lead and command," wing spokeswoman Capt. Alanna Staver said in a statement.

In a separate post on Facebook, O'Malley noted Kotnik had made "mistakes."

"We have thousands of Airmen across our Air Force serving our country, and not one of them is perfect. As good people, like Capt. Kotnik, make mistakes, I want them to have the opportunity to learn from them without being under public scrutiny, and to continue to be a part of this great service," he said in the post.

O'Malley continued, "In these types of situations, I never forget that we're dealing with real human beings, that I care deeply about, and that we are charged to take care of. This will be a difficult time for Capt. Kotnik, but she's surrounded by wingmen that will help her every step of the way. It was exciting to have the first female demo team pilot here at Shaw, but I'm also just as excited about the many other females that are serving with great distinction across our Air Force."

Kotnik will no longer perform with the demo team "but will continue to serve in a non-supervisory role in the 20th Fighter Wing," Staver said. Gen. Mike Holmes, commander of Air Combat Command, certified Kotnik to lead the team on Jan. 29.

Kotnik, whose call sign is SiS, was recently profiled by the Air Force as its first female single-ship tactical demonstration pilot. The service even likened Kotnik to the upcoming superhero flick "Captain Marvel," in which actress Brie Larson plays an F-16 pilot. Kotnik, of Poynette, Wisconsin, comes from an aviation-enthusiast family, according to Stars and Stripes.

She graduated from the Air Force Academy in 2011 and was selected for undergraduate pilot training, flying the T-6B Texan II and the T-38C Talon, according to her official Air Force biography.

After earning her wings in October 2013, she moved to Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, and learned to fly the F-16C Fighting Falcon. Kotnik was the chief of training for the 55th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Shaw for three years before switching to the Viper team.

She flew missions in support of Operation Noble Eagle -- the air defense operation following the Sept. 11 attacks -- and has more than 1,000 flight hours in military aircraft, the Air Force said. Maj. John "Rain" Waters, last season's Viper demo pilot, has resumed command in Kotnik's place, O'Malley said.

-- Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.
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steve2267

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Unread post12 Feb 2019, 22:24

What sort of "mistakes" leads one to be relieved of command, but being allowed to continue to serve, however, not in any sort of supervisory (is that bureaucraticese for "leadership") capacity?
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, dollop of F-117, gob of F-22, dash of F/A-18, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well + bake. Whaddya get? F-35.
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Unread post12 Feb 2019, 22:32

Captain is considered to be a Junior Officer rank in the USAF, just like Flight Lieutenant in the RAF. Senior Officer ranks start at Major (Squadron Leader) therefore her removal from the Viper Demo Team doesn’t automatically mean the end of her career. Whatever has happened might delay her promotion to Major but hopefully we don’t all start speculating as to what has happened on here.
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afjag

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Unread post13 Feb 2019, 13:23

What I find interesting about this, is the short time between ACC/CC certifying the demonstration routine and her removal as flight/cc. While I understand the two are completely unrelated, I cant imagine that ACC/CC would certify her routine if there was an inkling of this coming down. Two weeks is a very short time to conduct a proper investigation regarding improper conduct or Commander Directed or IG-type complaints.
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Unread post13 Feb 2019, 15:44

She had an affair with a base member.
Somebody has evidence of it... it's not hard to get when everybody hold a camera in the pocket.
Somebody didnt liked her, but to make her hurt more decided to put out the evidences of her actions to her supervisors slightly after she was announced to a new job but early enough not to make Viper DT unable to perform during the upcoming season.

Life.
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afjag

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Unread post13 Feb 2019, 16:08

Was it reported somewhere publicly about adultery/inappropriate relationship allegation being the cause of her removal or are you speculating?

The may very well be the case. However, I have been the investigating officer on a number of complaints of adultery, and under normal circumstances, even with overwhelming evidence, the process usually takes some time. Was an investigation expedited because of the high profile nature of the subject? Probably.

I do think you are right about somebody having an ax to grind, filing a complaint only after finding out she was the CC of the demo team via the public press releases. That would explain the timing.
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mixelflick

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Unread post13 Feb 2019, 16:58

Likely another example of someone who wasn't ready, or qualified in the first place but got the position because we need greater "diversity".

Bullshit.

We need the best PEOPLE for the job, not one of every type. And at the end of the day, those "people" are overwhelmingly white males. Don't like that? Too bad. It's the reality. But the USAF, Navy, Marines etc are hell bent on finding a woman, a black man, a Hispanic, a "transgender" etc..

Witness the recent reaction of the commander of the Blue Angels. When getting applications to make the team, he remarked that "we can do better presenting a more diverse pilot cadre" - something to that effect. So what did he do? Started the process over, begging for more "diverse" candidates.

How about the Navy's first F-14 pilot? Killed herself and damn near killed her RIO on approach to carrier landing. Sure, that's happened with men too. But "Revlon" was continually given a pass in flight school. Anybody that knows anything about her story will tell you that, but the Navy has quietly clamped down on that talk - and her records.

Women don't belong in combat. Period. Their value lies in their very nature: Caregivers, counselors etc etc.. To pretend otherwise is to deny their natural instincts, and it just gets worse the more physical the job. You know why there wasn't a single women who participated in the Bin Laden raid? Or the fact that there isn't a single woman in the SEALS? Because they refused to water down the physical standards, and correctly deduced that if they did - people were going to get killed.

Flame away if you like, but that's the reality of the situation. Not that "political correctness" will want to hear it. In, before the left's playbook 101: "You're sexist, misogynistic blah blah blah".

Looking forward to the day we see women on the line in the NFL...
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Unread post13 Feb 2019, 17:30

mixelflix I totally agree. Although in some service you may find examples of women that adopted well to the environment - they're the exceptions confirming The rule.
But still... every woman have a monthly 'period' of indisposition. What happens if a female fighter pilot got to fly a combat mission or an air show demo but her period of inability just took off? I cant quite imagine any women fly at similar condition while cringing from pain. 2+2 aint 5.
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botsing

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Unread post13 Feb 2019, 17:39

mixelflick wrote:Likely another example of someone who wasn't ready, or qualified in the first place but got the position because we need greater "diversity".

Please stop with this conjecture and prejudice mixel.

You are basing your rant on speculative information and you are mixing in some very bad stereotyping as well.

SEALS have among others a requirement for physical strength that very few women might ever reach. However, fighter pilots need a different set of requirements where many women will actually fit in pretty well, just ask your average male pilot if they think their women counterparts are able to perform their job or not.
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afjag

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Unread post13 Feb 2019, 18:39

mixelflick wrote:Likely another example of someone who wasn't ready, or qualified in the first place but got the position because we need greater "diversity".

Bullshit.

We need the best PEOPLE for the job, not one of every type. And at the end of the day, those "people" are overwhelmingly white males. Don't like that? Too bad. It's the reality. But the USAF, Navy, Marines etc are hell bent on finding a woman, a black man, a Hispanic, a "transgender" etc..

Witness the recent reaction of the commander of the Blue Angels. When getting applications to make the team, he remarked that "we can do better presenting a more diverse pilot cadre" - something to that effect. So what did he do? Started the process over, begging for more "diverse" candidates.

How about the Navy's first F-14 pilot? Killed herself and damn near killed her RIO on approach to carrier landing. Sure, that's happened with men too. But "Revlon" was continually given a pass in flight school. Anybody that knows anything about her story will tell you that, but the Navy has quietly clamped down on that talk - and her records.

Women don't belong in combat. Period. Their value lies in their very nature: Caregivers, counselors etc etc.. To pretend otherwise is to deny their natural instincts, and it just gets worse the more physical the job. You know why there wasn't a single women who participated in the Bin Laden raid? Or the fact that there isn't a single woman in the SEALS? Because they refused to water down the physical standards, and correctly deduced that if they did - people were going to get killed.

Flame away if you like, but that's the reality of the situation. Not that "political correctness" will want to hear it. In, before the left's playbook 101: "You're sexist, misogynistic blah blah blah".

Looking forward to the day we see women on the line in the NFL...


Thats a completely shortsighted and misogynistic view of the world.

For instance, Lt Kara Hultgren, the naval aviator I think you are referring to, was probably carrier qualified when she should not have been. I dont know if her training was rushed or abbreviated, or she was ill-suited to carrier operations but her crash (and death) were not the result of her being a female. There are plenty of male aviators that also wash-out or have killed themselves as a result of being crappy pilots. I dont know what the wash-out rate is per specific gender, but it would be interesting to know.

I have also been told then a women's physiology is actually better suited for dealing with sustained periods of high g-loads.

So in short, political correctness and lowering standards is one thing, but to say woman should not be combat pilots is completely unfounded. There are plenty of examples in the Air Force and Navy that validate that assertion, including Col Nichole Malachowski, the first female Thunderbirds demonstration pilot.
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zaltys

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Unread post14 Feb 2019, 19:41

I would say what mixelflick wrote is reality, and I have many examples from my own experience. Some guys of both genders have to remove pink glasses. Nobody says that someone is worse than others, we are just different. Women are better in many areas, just combat is not one of those areas.

Good example is physical fitness tests - why in armed forces women have easier requirements?
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Unread post14 Feb 2019, 21:01

steve2267 wrote:What sort of "mistakes" leads one to be relieved of command, but being allowed to continue to serve, however, not in any sort of supervisory (is that bureaucraticese for "leadership") capacity?

Maybe team don't want her as the leader due to her personality
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Unread post14 Feb 2019, 21:32

saberrider wrote:
steve2267 wrote:What sort of "mistakes" leads one to be relieved of command, but being allowed to continue to serve, however, not in any sort of supervisory (is that bureaucraticese for "leadership") capacity?

Maybe team don't want her as the leader due to her personality

LOL....do people really live their lives like it is high school?.....LOL
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popcorn

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Unread post14 Feb 2019, 22:12

I can think of a few legendary generals with lousy personalities
"When a fifth-generation fighter meets a fourth-generation fighter—the [latter] dies,”
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Unread post15 Feb 2019, 02:01

Ive seen "Rain" Waters fly a few Viper Demos. Good pilot.
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