Air Force terminates Thunderbird commander after $29MILLION jet is destroyed in Ohio crash

  • Air Force officials announced the termination of?Lt. Col. Jason Heard this week
  • The announcement comes after a $29 million fighter jet was destroyed in June
  • Heard's commanding officer said he 'lost confidence in his leadership and risk management style'
  • The Air Force has since assigned Lt. Col. Kevin Walsh to take over the position
  • Heard had only been in command since January this year before his firing?

Air Force officials announced the termination of?Lt. Col. Jason Heard (shown) this week

Air Force officials announced the termination of?Lt. Col. Jason Heard (shown) this week

The Air Force has fired the leader of the Thunderbirds flight demonstration team that experienced a crash at an Ohio airshow.

Air Force officials claimed Wednesday Lt. Col. Jason Heard's firing was unrelated to the June mishap in Dayton that destroyed a $29 million fighter jet.

The Air Force said his commanding officer, Brig. Gen. Jeannie Leavitt had 'lost confidence in his leadership and risk management style.'

Heard was only in command since January before his departure that was effective on November 20.

His commanding officer revealed it was a difficult decision, but ultimately one that is in the best interests of the team.

Heard was overseeing the unit when an F-16D jet ran off the runway and flipped over at Dayton International Airport on June 23.

Photograph of the June mishap in Dayton that destroyed the $29 million fighter jet

Photograph of the June mishap in Dayton that destroyed the $29 million fighter jet

Officials say excessive speed and landing without enough stopping distance led to the crash.

Heard's?commanding officer, Brig. Gen. Jeannie Leavitt (shown) 'lost confidence in his leadership and risk management style'

Heard's?commanding officer, Brig. Gen. Jeannie Leavitt (shown) 'lost confidence in his leadership and risk management style'

'He led a highly successful 2017 show season featuring 72 demonstrations over 39 show sites,' Air Force spokesman?Maj. Ray Geoffroy said in a statement.

However, 'concerns arose that his approach to leading the team was resulting in increased risk within the demonstration, which eroded the team dynamic.'

The Air Force has since assigned Lt. Col. Kevin Walsh to take over the position.

'The team dynamic in the Thunderbirds is absolutely unique. We are on the road together more than 200 days per year, executing flying operations with absolutely no margin for error,'?Geoffroy added.

'As a result, absolute trust and teamwork in both our professional and personal dynamics are foundational to our mission.'

(L to R) Major General Lawrence Wells, Colonel Jeannie Leavitt and outgoing commander Colonel Patrick Doherty pose for a photo together. Air Force officials said concerns arose over Heard's approach in leading the team

(L to R) Major General Lawrence Wells, Colonel Jeannie Leavitt and outgoing commander Colonel Patrick Doherty pose for a photo together. Air Force officials said concerns arose over Heard's approach in leading the team

A military helicopter surveys the crash site of the Thunderbird that crashed in a field after they performed for the United States Air Force graduation commencement

A military helicopter surveys the crash site of the Thunderbird that crashed in a field after they performed for the United States Air Force graduation commencement

Officials say excessive speed and landing without enough stopping distance led to the June crash

Officials say excessive speed and landing without enough stopping distance led to the June crash

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