Investigation clears leader of Guard base in Fort Wayne accused in complaint of misspending


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FORT WAYNE, Indiana — An investigation into the commander of the Air National Guard base in Fort Wayne showed he didn't misspend taxpayer money or do any of the other improprieties alleged in an anonymous complaint, Indiana Adjutant General Martin Umbarger said Wednesday.

Umbarger said an investigation by the Oklahoma National Guard's assistant adjutant general found that all 11 allegations against 122nd Fighter Wing Commander Col. David Augustine were unsubstantiated and that he acted within his discretion.

"Commanders must make difficult choices ... and there will always be some who disagree with those choices. Disagreement alone doesn't make a decision wrong or illegal," Umbarger said. "The 11 anonymous allegations against Dave Augustine have been found unsubstantiated by an independent, impartial investigating officer."

Umbarger said he reviewed the investigation findings and agreed with them. Augustine stood by Umbarger at the news conference but did not speak and did not take questions.

Augustine does have a medical condition that prevents him from flying and could result in his removal as commander of the 122nd Fighter Wing, Umbarger told The Journal Gazette. Umbarger would not say what that condition was.

One of the allegations was that Augustine has been "grounded from flying" since June 2012. His flying status has been "duties not include flying" since July 2013, Umbarger said.

He said Augustine's status is changing from temporarily disqualified from flying to medically but not permanently disqualified from flying. If Augustine is found to be permanently disqualified from flying, a process that could take as long as a year, he would lose his command, Umbarger said.

Augustine, a combat pilot in the Iraq War, has been commander wing since 2011. Umbarger said he supports Augustine.

"Allow me to reaffirm my continued trust and confidence in the ability and integrity of Col. David Augustine to effectively lead this wing," Umbarger said.

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