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General Busted For Sex Harassment

The former commander of the Air Force’s AWACS planes has been busted down to colonel for what was deemed inappropriate conduct with a female subordinate, and he’ll voluntarily retire.

Brig. Gen. Robert T. Newell accepted the non-judicial ruling and did not appeal, said Maj. Joe LaMarca of the Air Combat Command at Langley Air Force Base, Va.

Maj. Ken Ellis of the 552nd Air control Wing at Tinker Air Force Base said Thursday that an Air Force investigation determined that Newell twice embraced a female subordinate while unsuccessfully pursuing intimate relations with the woman.

Neither Ellis nor LaMarca had more details on the incident, but Ellis said it was believed that the contact with the subordinate occurred at Tinker. Citing privacy laws, LaMarca said he couldn’t go into specifics of the case or the investigation.

The Air Force also found that Newell was professionally derelict in maintaining his flight records. LaMarca said the investigation found Newell said in his records that he had flown some missions as a navigator when he hadn’t met the requirements to be able to fly as a navigator.

Newell, who has been in the Air Force since 1971, is voluntarily retiring effective Jan. 1. The retirement will be at the reduced rank of colonel.

Newell was relieved of his command of the AWACS unit in October, about six weeks after he had taken over the E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft from Brig. Gen. Silas R. Johnson.