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Helo XO fired after striking junior officer

Sep. 12, 2012 - 06:27PM   |   Last Updated: Sep. 12, 2012 - 06:27PM  |  
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The prospective commander of a Guam-based helicopter squadron was fired Tuesday for misconduct, Navy officials said.

Cmdr. Kyle G. Strudthoff, the executive officer of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25, was found guilty of conduct unbecoming an officer after an investigation "confirmed he struck a junior officer during a squadron social event," according to a statement by Naval Air Force-Pacific.

Strudthoff traveled to San Diego to attend a captain's mast. He was slated to fleet-up and take command of HSC-25, but "when the investigation came to light, we put a pause on the change-of-command ceremony," said Cmdr. Pauline Storum, a Naval Air Forces spokeswoman in Coronado, Calif.

Storum declined to describe the circumstances of the misconduct.

"We take seriously the conduct of our senior leaders," she said. "It's important they comport themselves in a serious manner."

Strudthoff was relieved of command by Capt. Shoshana Chatfield, who commands Helicopter Sea Combat Wing-Pacific in San Diego. He "received nonjudicial punishment," an administrative action, and was reassigned temporarily to staff duty at the wing headquarters "pending future reassignment," Storum said.

The squadron's current leader, Cmdr. John Compton, will remain in command until he is replaced by Cmdr. Reuben Ramos, Storum said. Ramos most recently was executive officer of HSC-4 in San Diego.

Strudthoff, commissioned in the Navy in 1996, became a naval aviator in 1998, according to his official biography. He has served and deployed with several squadrons, including Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 8, HS-15 and HS-10, where he was assigned as a flight instructor. He became HSC-25's executive officer in May 2011 following assignment as the helicopter shore detailer with the Bureau of Naval Personnel in Millington, Tenn.

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