The female commander of the USAF’s F-16 Viper Demonstration Team was given the boot only two weeks after taking over- and the commander who did the firing seems to have a thing for sophomoric jokes.
In a cautionary tale about how “the internet is forever,” a video from the mid-2000s has surfaced, showing 20th Fighter Wing Commander Col. Derek O’Malley as a younger man, creating a rather immature advertisement for Gold Bond body powder.
While the video itself is actually rather well-produced in the beginning (it quickly unravels into childish jokes) and even features female pilots willing to join in the fun, it still serves as a reminder that things deemed “okay” a decade ago might not fly today.
Complete with a penis puppet and fart jokes, the video lauds Gold Bond’s ability to keep a pilot’s genitals dry in a Nomex flight suit.
According to The Drive, O’Malley, was the Chief Weapons Instructor for the Korea-based 35th Fighter Squadron when the video was produced.
Now the commander of the 20th Fighter Wing, O’Malley recently came to media attention after he fired Captain Zoe Kotnik of the Viper Demo Team, without citing reasons beyond “loss of confidence.”
O’Malley released the following statement in response to Kotnik’s firing:
“I removed Capt. Kotnik from her position as the commander of the Viper Demo team yesterday, because I lost confidence in her ability to lead the team.
I know that loss of confidence is a common response from the Air Force, whenever someone is removed from a command position, and I think it’s important to understand why we take this approach.
We have thousands of Airmen across our Air Force serving our country, and not one of them is perfect. As good people, like Capt. Kotnik make mistakes, I want them to have the opportunity to learn from them without being under public scrutiny, and to continue to be a part of this great service. They’ll be better for the experience, and in turn, we’ll be better as an Air Force.
In these types of situations, I never forget that we’re dealing with real human beings, that I care deeply about, and that we are charged to take care of. This will be a difficult time for Capt. Kotnik, but she’s surrounded by wingmen that will help her every step of the way.
It was exciting to have the first female demo team pilot here at Shaw, but I’m also just as excited about the many other females that are serving with great distinction across our Air Force. I’m proud to serve with them, and I’m inspired by them. Even as I speak, another female pilot from the 20th Fighter Wing is flying combat missions in the Middle East.
Maj. Waters, last season’s Viper Demo pilot has resumed command, so the team is in great hands, and the show will go on. We’re looking forward to another amazing season with this team.”
It is unknown if the USAF will ever reveal what Kotnik did to lose her position.
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