Navy Removes Its El Centro Leader

No details provided on why decorated aviator fired

(SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE 01 JUL 13) … Jeanette Steele

The Navy has fired the leader of its El Centro air facility without disclosing any details of what led to the removal.

Capt. Devon Jones was relieved of command of the El Centro facility, according to a statement Monday from the Navy’s Southwest region.

The second-in-command, executive officer Cmdr. Erik Franzen, is now in charge of the facility. Jones, a former F-14 Tomcat and F/A-18 Hornet pilot, will be reassigned to the Coronado naval air command.

Removal from command is the equivalent of being ‘fired’ from a position in the Navy and usually ends forward career momentum.

The El Centro base is a Navy aviation training site but is probably best known as the winter home of the Blue Angels performance flying team. It is located about 115 miles east of San Diego along the Mexico border.

A Navy spokesman said an investigation into Jones’ conduct is not yet complete and potential administrative actions are still pending. He wouldn’t characterize the nature of the investigation or of possible administrative steps.

A released statement said that the Navy “expects its leaders to provide principled and highly ethical leadership, stressing discipline, accountability, and the importance of treating shipmates with dignity and respect.”

Jones is a graduate of Azusa Pacific University and received his commission as a naval officer in 1986.

He did three tours in F-14 squadrons, participating in Operation Desert Shield/Storm and Southern Watch. He also served as an instructor and adversary pilot at the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center, which includes the Navy’s “Top Gun” school, in Fallon, Nev. His medals include the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Jones couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

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