New commander named at Scott Air Force Base after ouster of colonel accused of sexual misconduct

U.S. Air Force Col. Leslie Maher, photographed on July 12, 2017.


By ERIN HEFFERNAN | St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Published: January 31, 2018

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE (Tribune News Service) — A colonel was named commander of the 375th Air Mobility Wing here Tuesday following the ouster of the previous commander amid sexual misconduct allegations.

Col. Leslie A. Maher will assume command Feb. 20, leading more than 3,100 personnel at the base about 25 miles east of St. Louis.

Maher is the current Director for the Special Access Program Management Office at the base. A South Dakota native, she first enlisted in the Air Force in 1987. She has a bachelor's degree in Spanish from Wichita State University and a masters in organizational management from George Washington University.

Maher replaces Col. John O. Howard, who was relieved of his command Dec. 11. Howard is under investigation for alleged sexual misconduct.

Lt. General Giovanni Tuck said at the time of the ouster that he had "lost confidence in Howard's leadership and ability to continue serving in command," though Tuck did not explain why.

The Air Force has not released details about the misconduct allegations. Officials said investigation details will not be released "to ensure the integrity of the process," according to a December news release.

The investigation is being conducted by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.

Howard was temporarily replaced by vice commander Col. W. Chris Buschur.

The 375th Air Mobility Wing provides aeromedical evacuation for patients and operational support airlift, according to the Scott Air Force Base website.

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Col. John Howard speaks during a wing change of command ceremony on July 24, 2017 at Scott Air Force Base, Ill.