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Electronic attack squadron CO fired

Jan. 8, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
Cmdr. Joe Martinez was relieved of command Wednesday of Electronic Attack Squadron 140.
Cmdr. Joe Martinez was relieved of command Wednesday of Electronic Attack Squadron 140. (Navy)
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The commanding officer of an electronic attack squadron attached to the aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower was fired Wednesday after Navy investigators reported he had made inappropriate racial comments, filed false reports and ignored instructions, among other misdeeds, according to a Navy news release.

Cmdr. Joe Martinez, skipper of VAQ-140, was fired by Capt. Terry Morris, commander of Carrier Air Wing 7, because of a “loss of confidence in his ability to command” according to the release, issued by Cmdr. Mike Kafka, spokesman for Naval Air Force Atlantic.

The Judge Advocate General Manual investigation found poor leadership and a negative command climate among the squadron’s officers, the release stated. It also found Martinez, who took command of VAQ-140 in November 2012, had willfully ignored Navy instructions, knowingly submitted inaccurate officer fitness reports, made inappropriate racial comments, exercised undue influence on subordinates, and made false or misleading statements.

Cmdr. Scott Hardy, who previously commanded VAQ-136, has been named interim CO. He takes command as the squadron is transitioning from the EA-6B Prowler to the EA-18G Growler aircraft.

Martinez has been temporarily assigned to Electronic Attack Wing Pacific, the release states. Though based at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash., the “Patriots” of VAQ-140 are assigned to Norfolk, Va.-based Air Wing 7, which currently embarks onboard the Eisenhower.

He enlisted in the Navy in 1988 and was selected for officer training under the Broadened Opportunity for Officer Selection and Training program, a predecessor to the Seaman to Admiral-21 program.

Following his graduation from the University of Oklahoma and commissioning in 1996, he completed flight training and was designated an NFO in 1998.

Martinez served with multiple electronic attack squadrons, then as the assistant navigator aboard the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln in 2005.

He served with the “Gray Wolves” of VAQ-142 beginning in 2007 and made two deployments to Iraq, according to his official online bio.

After earning a master’s degree at the Naval War College, he reported to VAQ-140 as executive officer in August 2010. He has more than 2,700 flight hours, according to his bio.

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