RAF MILDENHALL, England — The 422nd Air Base Group commander at RAF Croughton will be moving to RAF Alconbury’s 423rd Air Base Group next month, the groups’ wing commander said this week.

In addition to commanding the 423rd, Col. John Jordan will become vice commander of the 501st Combat Support Wing as overlapping 423rd and wing positions are merged this year, 501st Commander Col. Kimberly Toney said.

Both the 423rd and the wing are based at Alconbury since the 501st moved from RAF Mildenhall in May.

The moves will give the 501st more capabilities and groups in one location while eliminating redundancies, Toney said.

For example, the 423rd’s legal office will now merge with the wing’s legal resources, she said.

“We can do the Air Force a lot better by putting like teams together,” she said.

Col. Sharon Holmes will take command of Croughton’s 422nd ABG in May, Toney said. Holmes currently works at the Pentagon.

Jordan replaces Col. Robert G. Steele, who was dismissed in January from his post as the 423rd commander.

Since Steele’s dismissal, Jordan has commanded Croughton and Alconbury.

Toney would not specify exactly why Steele was relieved of his command after getting the job in June under the previous 501st commander.

“I lost confidence in his ability to command,” Toney said Tuesday.

Toney said the 423rd will eventually morph into the 501st Mission Support Group.

The 501st oversees roughly 1,400 airmen and civilians that work at seven separate bases scattered throughout England as well as one base in Norway.

Jordan said it’s been challenging commanding both groups and driving the 90 minutes each way between Croughton and Alconbury each day.

“It’s given me a greater appreciation for looking outside your particular area,” Jordan said. “I was Croughton-centric. You can’t be that way.”

Relieving Steele and the aftermath involved was a “painful challenge,” Toney said, but the decision was not made alone and involved 3rd Air Force leaders. The 3rd Air Force oversees all service units in England.

“We are making progress,” she said of the post-Steele era. “It’s tough because it stifles your operation. When you relieve somebody, the people who work for those people lose a lot of self-confidence. They blame themselves.”

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