Montana's senior Air Force official loses command
By MARTIN J. KIDSTON
Helena Independent Record
A spokesman for the Montana National Guard said Monday that Brig. Gen. John Del Toro, the assistant adjutant general of the Air National Guard and the state's senior Air Force officer, was relieved of his command last month due to an unprofessional relationship with a female subordinate.
Maj. Tim Crowe, public-relations officer for the Montana Guard, noted Del Toro's privacy rights when declining to reveal details of a report conducted by the secretary of the Air Force regarding the nature of the relationship, how long it had been going on or the rank of the subordinate.
However, Crowe did say that Brig. Gen. John Walsh, adjutant general of the Montana Guard, based his decision to relieve Del Toro of his high-level command on May 6 due a "substantiated complaint" contained in an Air Force inspector general's report.
The report, which Walsh received May 1, found that Del Toro had been involved in "an unprofessional relationship with a subordinate member of the Air National Guard."
"General Walsh spoke with the governor and received the governor's concurrence on his plan of action," Crowe said. "General Walsh's plan of action was then to suspend General Del Toro of his duties as assistant adjutant general for the Air National Guard."
Del Toro, who joined the Air Force in 1981 as a student pilot, oversaw the 120th Fighter Wing and the 219th Red Horse Squadron, both based in Great Falls. He also managed Air Guard personnel assigned to the Joint Force Headquarters at Fort Harrison in Helena.
Last month, however, after the Independent Record received word of Del Toro's firing, Walsh said he had "lost confidence" in Del Toro's ability to lead.
Walsh echoed those sentiments again Monday in a written statement.
"After receiving and reviewing the Secretary of the Air Force's inspector general report, I lost confidence in Gen. Del Toro's judgment and ability to command the Air National Guard," Walsh wrote.
"As members of the Montana National Guard, we are required and expected to maintain a higher level of standard and conduct."
Crowe declined to discuss details of Del Toro's relationship, other than to say it involved a woman. He wouldn't say if any disciplinary action would be carried out against the subordinate.
In the military, Crowe added, the burden of acceptable conduct falls on the shoulders of the senior officer.
"Any time a relationship has been determined as unprofessional, the military looks at the senior person involved in that relationship as having control over the relationship," Crowe said. "That's why General Walsh has chosen to take the steps he has taken to date."
According to the Secretary of the Air Force's instruction manual, an unprofessional relationship is one that erodes "good order, discipline, respect for authority, unit cohesion and, ultimately, mission accomplishment."
The manual adds that it's the responsibility of commanders and supervisors at all levels to ensure compliance with the regulation.
"Relationships are unprofessional, whether pursued on or off-duty, when they detract from the authority of superiors or result in, or reasonably create the appearance of, favoritism, misuse of office or position, or the abandonment of organizational goals for personal interests," the manual notes.
Crowe said Del Toro had been reassigned to another position. A replacement, who will step up to lead the Air National Guard, will be named soon, Crowe added.
"Brigade General Walsh does not intend to reassign (Del Toro), nor does he have another general officer position to place him in," Crowe said, adding that positions for general officers in Montana were limited.
Top Air National Guard official dismissed
By The Associated Press
HELENA - The assistant adjutant general for the Montana Air National Guard, Brig. Gen. John Del Toro, has been relieved of his command.
A Guard spokesman, Maj. Tim Crowe, confirmed Friday that Del Toro was relieved Wednesday.
Crowe told The Associated Press that Montana's adjutant general, Brig. Gen. John Walsh, "has lost confidence in General Del Toro's ability to lead the Air National Guard."
Crowe declined to say what had prompted Walsh's loss of confidence in Del Toro.
The Independent Record in Helena first reported the dismissal on its Web site Friday.
Del Toro had been assistant adjutant general for air since 2006 and the Air Force's senior officer in Montana.
Del Toro graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1981 and joined the Montana National Guard in January 1996.
He was responsible for the leadership, development and management of the 120th Fighter Wing and the 219th Red Horse Squadron. He also oversaw all personnel within the Montana Air National Guard assigned to the Joint Force Headquarters at Fort Harrison.
Around 1,200 airmen served under Del Toro's command.
"The governor is aware of the situation," Schweitzer spokeswoman Sarah Elliott told the Independent Record, adding that no further information could be released at this time.
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