Air Force relieves Guam Commander for personal conduct
March 24, 2023

In a surprising move, the United States Air Force has fired Brig. Gen. Paul R. Birch, the commander of the 36th Wing at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam. According to the Air Force, Birch was removed from his post due to “shortfalls in his personal conduct.”

Details surrounding the circumstances of Birch’s removal are not yet known, and the Air Force has not elaborated on the specific misconduct allegations. However, in a statement released on Tuesday, the Air Force confirmed that Birch’s conduct did not meet the standards expected of a military commander.

According to the Air Force, Birch was removed from his post due to “shortfalls in his personal conduct.”

Reports stated that that “the decision to remove Brig. Gen. Birch was based on a loss of trust and confidence in his ability to command due to personal conduct issues.” The statement went on to say that “the Air Force holds all of its personnel to the highest standards of conduct, and when those standards are not met, appropriate action will be taken.”

The 36th Wing is responsible for supporting U.S. and allied operations in the Indo-Pacific region, and Birch had been in charge of the unit since June 2022, according to his official biography. Prior to serving as the 36th Wing Commander, he was chief of the Air Force strategic planning integration division at the Pentagon. Birch graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1996 and has more than 2,100 flying hours, including 750 combat hours. He has a Ph.D. from Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.

The Andersen Air Force Base, located on the island of Guam in the western Pacific Ocean, is a strategic location for the U.S. military. The base serves as a hub for operations in the Indo-Pacific region and is home to various units, including the 36th Wing, the 624th Regional Support Group, and the 734th Air Mobility Squadron.

The Air Force has not announced who will be replacing Birch as the commander of the Andersen Air Force Base. In the meantime, the 36th Wing vice commander, Colonel David S. Owens, will serve as the acting commander.

This is a developing story, and the Air Force has stated that it will provide further details as they become available.

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