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RAF MILDENHALL, England — After roughly six months on the job, the commander of the 423rd Air Base Group at RAF Alconbury has been relieved of his command, Air Force officials said Thursday.

Col. Robert G. Steele was relieved of duty on Jan. 18 by the 501st Combat Support Wing commander, Col. Kimberly Toney, according to an Air Force news release.

“The action was administrative, not punitive,” Toney said in the release. “I lost confidence in Col. Steele’s ability to lead the group.”

The Air Force issued the news release Thursday following a request for information from Stars and Stripes.

The release states that Steele is not under investigation and no criminal charges are expected to be filed against him.

“We want [to] make certain members of the wing are serving in the best interest of our Air Force,” Toney said in the release. “My primary focus is the health and welfare of this wing.”

Steele assumed command on June 21, and led a unit of 246 servicemembers and 140 civilians, according to Tech. Sgt. Kristina Barrett, an RAF Alconbury spokeswoman.

Steele has been reassigned to the Air Force Personnel Center in San Antonio, Barrett said.

A new commander will be selected in the coming weeks, but it’s unclear who will be tapped for the role.

Col. Jan Rosko, vice commander of the 501st, will serve as interim commander of the 423rd Air Base Group. The current 423rd deputy commander, Lt. Col. Andrew Thorburn, will oversee routine operations for the group.

The 501st Combat Support Wing oversees eight so-called geographically separated units across the United Kingdom as well as an Air Force installation in Stavanger, Norway.

RAF Alconbury is largely a support base for the nearby RAF Molesworth, which is home to the military’s European intelligence Joint Analysis Center and the NATO Intelligence Fusion Center.

The installation is located about an hour west of RAFs Lakenheath and Mildenhall.


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