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Air Force Relieves Three Commanders

By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 5, 1996 – The Air Force has relieved three commanders in Germany in connection with the April 3 jet crash that killed Commerce Secretary Ron Brown and 34 others.

As a result of facts uncovered during the accident investigation, the 17th Air Force commander, Maj. Gen. Charles R. Heflebower relieved the three officers, citing his loss of confidence in their ability to effectively discharge their responsibilities, according to a U.S. Air Forces in Europe news release.

Brig. Gen. William E. Stevens, 86th Airlift Wing; Col. Roger W. Hansen, wing vice commander; and Col. John E. Mazurowski, commander, 86th Operations Group, were relieved May 29, Air Force officials said. The three are awaiting reassignment, a DoD official said.

"The action taken by Gen. Heflebower does not infer any judgment regarding the cause of the accident or the involvement of these three individuals," said DoD spokesman Air Force Col. Douglas Kennett. "It indicates simply that he's lost confidence in their ability to carry out their duties."

Results of the investigation are being reviewed, and a full report will be released soon, Kennett said. Family members of those who died in the crash will be briefed on investigation results before the report is released to the public, he said.

"We owe it to the families who lost loved ones in this tragedy that they get briefed first by the Air Force before they read about it in the paper," Kennett told reporters at a Pentagon news briefing.

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