Air Force Academy Commandant of Cadets Removed During Investigation

Brig. Gen. Kristin "Duchess" Goodwin
Brig Gen Kristin "Duchess" Goodwin

By Polaris Departure | AuxBeacon News Contributor

[Editor’s Note: Thank you for your continued contributions during our hiatus. We received multiple contributions regarding this story, which we add to our aggregate collection. Goodwin’s removal also reminded us about Taco Gilbert, who was ousted in 2003.]

The U.S. Air Force Academy has abruptly removed its commandant of cadets over a complaint filed by an Academy staff member. An investigation is underway, but most contacts are not talking details.

The first openly gay general to work at the Air Force Academy, Brig Gen Kristin Goodwin, was fired just before she was to be transferred to take a position at the Pentagon. She’s been leading military training at the academy since 2017. The Gazette is credited with first reporting the story.

One anonymous informant told NPR that there were “climate and leadership issues” at the academy.

In making the decision for her removal, Lt Gen Jay B. Silveria told interviewers:

“This was not about me, and it was not about General Goodwin, this was about the cadets… [and] I only know fractions of (the complaint. I have not seen it.”

Lt Gen Silveria also revealed that the investigation has expanded beyond the single individual who filed the complaint.

The Gazette summarized her career:

“Goodwin, a former B-2 bomber pilot who moved to the school with her wife and children, was praised by some for a tough new set of discipline polices that made cadets toe the line. She also faced criticism for her stormy relationship with subordinates and colleagues, a few of whom referred to her with the imperial nickname ‘duchess,’ the general’s callsign from flying days. Several academy officers who requested anonymity because they were not authorized by the academy to speak about the case said Goodwin was a caustic leader who treated those under her roughly and was easily riled.”

The last academy commandant who was relieved of command was Brig Gen Silvanus Taco Gilbert III in 2003. Gilbert and other academy leaders were removed after criticism over how the academy handled sexual assault reports. Dozens of female cadets blew the whistle as to how they were ostracized or reprimanded after they told superiors they had been raped.

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