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
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
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.