'The Timing Was a Coincidence,' Retiring Air Commander Says

By ANDREW LOGSDON | alogsdon@wfft.com

Published 08/04 2014 08:31PM

Updated 08/05 2014 09:02AM

Retiring 122nd Fighter Wing Air Commander Colonel David Augustine says the recent investigation into alleged over spending and abuse of power has nothing to do with his decision to step down.

WFFT sat down with the commander today.

He says his plan to retire began a year ago just happened to coincide with the controversy over the past few months.

He also says he hopes the next commander can expand on the growth he inspired over the past four years.

"In my case, it's not going to happen in the military. Wing commander, fighter wings commanders have to be fighter pilots. And there's a reason for that... When you can't maintain that status anymore, then unfortunately you've got to salute the flag, and you've got to thank this great nation for allowing you to perform in your capacity, and move on. And that is just what has happened,” Col. Augustine says.

Col. Augustine says his inability to fly is why he is choosing to step down.

He says he was diagnosed with an undisclosed medical condition a year ago, and now his status has changed.

And it had nothing to do with the tax money spending investigation.

"Timing-wise, it was the same time, but they're not connected in any way, shape or form,” Col. Augustine says.

He says his actions are consistent throughout his four years commanding the post.

"The decisions I've made, even though some disagree with them, and that's clearly evident, I never did them to do anything wrong or spend money on the wrong purpose or that stuff. I did them for the right reasons, for this great country, for the families out here, and for the airmen in the service,” Col. Augustine says.

Col. Augustine has 32 years of air guard experience, with the past four in Fort Wayne.

He flew 24 combat missions in Iraq.

He says he's grateful for the patriotism in the Fort Wayne community.

"Right out of high school I put this uniform on. I talk to a lot of folks that have retired, and they miss it. You're so used to it. But I think the neat thing about it is to spend more time with my wife and kids,” col. Augustine says.

Col. Augustine says not only has the base moved past any rumors of losing its fighter jets, in fact, new ones are coming in.

A few months ago officials announced that they were changing from the A-10 warthog to F-16s.

Col. Augustine added that they hope to move to the new, advanced F-35- the Joint Strike Fighter, in a couple of years.

Col. Augustine's retirement should take place in the next 3 to 4 months.

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