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Mon, Nov 19, 2007

Lemoore NAS Squadron Commander Relieved Of Duty Following DUI Arrest

Seen Driving Erratically In Early Morning Hours

Aero-News has learned Cmdr. Thomas O'Dowd, commanding officer of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 122, was relieved of duty last week following his arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol at Naval Air Station Lemoore, CA.

Navy Captain Hal Murdock, Strike Fighter Wing US Pacific Fleet, relieved O'Dowd November 14, due to a loss of confidence in O'Dowd's ability to lead his squadron, according to Navy officials.

Captain Stephen Foley, the wing deputy commander, served as the acting commanding officer. O'Dowd has been temporarily assigned to Commander, Strike Fighter Wing Pacific in Lemoore, pending further review.

According to Navy Times, O'Dowd was seen driving his Lexus SUV erratically at 0300 on November 10 by a uniformed Navy security officer. The officer called the Kings County (CA) Sheriff's Department to make the arrest; the department has jurisidictional authority over the central California base.

"He was driving and showing an erratic driving pattern, and that’s what caused the security guard to pull over the vehicle," said Assistant Sheriff Brian Wheat. A field sobriety test prompted a sheriff's deputy to arrest O'Dowd.

VFA 122 is the Fleet Replacement Squadron for the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. The squadron's mission is to train aircrew and maintenance personnel to fly and fix the Super Hornet. VFA 122 is based out of Naval Air Station Lemoore.

O'Dowd entered the Navy in 1987, according to his official biography, and served in the Persian Gulf War and in Somalia. The biography was cited by the Navy Times; the bio page has since been removed from the Lemoore webpage.

FMI: www.news.navy.mil/local/airpac/, http://www.lemoore.navy.mil/

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