First female Viper Demo commander removed after just two weeks for 'loss of confidence' in her ability to lead.

Oxman

Well-Known Member

47055


Just two weeks after assuming command of the F-16 Viper Demo Team, the first woman to lead an Air Force demonstration team, Captain Zoe Kotnik has been reassigned due to “loss of confidence” in her ability to lead the elite air combat detail.

“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,” wrote Col. Derek O’Malley, Commander of the 20th Fighter Wing, on Facebook Tuesday, adding that it was for her own benefit as well as that of her fellow airmen and women. “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…. This will be a difficult time for Capt. Kotnik, but she’s surrounded by wingmen that will help her every step of the way.”

Though no longer with the team, Kotnik “will continue to serve in a non-supervisory role in the 20th Fighter Wing,” spokeswoman Capt. Alannah Staver told the Air Force Times, which first broke the news.
Kotnik’s appointment as the first female pilot to head the F-16 Viper demonstration team was heralded with much fanfare, and she assumed command on Jan. 29. It was not clear what could have happened in that short a time, and the Air Force would not comment beyond the initial announcement.

The awkwardness of the timing given the upcoming “Captain Marvel” movie starring Brie Larsen as a former fighter pilot also did not escape notice.
“Suffice it to say that in a year when the Air Force is set to make a major media splash with the highly anticipated blockbuster action film ‘Captain Marvel,’ which stars Brie Larson as a superhero that has a fighter pilot past, axing its first female demo team lead is far from convenient,” noted The Drive, a website covering aviation and military news. “It’s not all that uncommon for the Air Force to remove people from command, but it is quite rare that something like this occurs after just a matter of days of taking up the new position.”

Kotnik is a 2011 Air Force Academy graduate who earned her wings in 2013, according to the Air Force Times. She has logged more than a thousand hours flying military aircraft.

“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,” said O’Malley in his post. “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.”
 

JEP

Malko In Charge
Staff member
Damn shame. Two weeks after being awarded the command.... Instagram page deleted, electronic records of anything of hers have been deleted. Whatever ti was it couldn't have been brewing for long. You hate to see anyone removed from such an acclaimed position or any position for that matter.
 

FlyingAccountant

Well-Known Member
Damn shame. Two weeks after being awarded the command.... Instagram page deleted, electronic records of anything of hers have been deleted. Whatever ti was it couldn't have been brewing for long. You hate to see anyone removed from such an acclaimed position or any position for that matter.
Yeah, in that short of time, it must have been something fairly cut and dry.

Is there any sort of burden of investigation to relieve someone of command?
 

dustoff17

Well-Known Member
Political Correctness ?
How do you mean?
By the fact that she got the job in the first place OR that it made the news that she's out?

Yeah, in that short of time, it must have been something fairly cut and dry.

Is there any sort of burden of investigation to relieve someone of command?
Usually "investigated" only when a UCMJ action is planned. But these assignments are Commander's discretion (or politics, whichever comes first)

Black face college photos? :). Too soon?
Oh....so it was HER in the picture!! Makes perfect sense now!!
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
You can bet its something significant. In 2 weeks, one is still getting settled into the new job and learning their new responsibilities. Things like DUI or sleeping with subordinates, are some on the short list of an instant canning.
 

Oxman

Well-Known Member
You can bet its something significant. In 2 weeks, one is still getting settled into the new job and learning their new responsibilities. Things like DUI or sleeping with subordinates, are some on the short list of an instant canning.
Or bosses or not her husband.
 

Oxman

Well-Known Member
Capt. Zoe Kotnik: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know


The colonel went on to say, “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.”
 

CFI A&P

Exploring the world one toilet at a time.
You can bet its something significant. In 2 weeks, one is still getting settled into the new job and learning their new responsibilities. Things like DUI or sleeping with subordinates, are some on the short list of an instant canning.
She wouldn’t be the first air show pilot with a DUI.




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JEP

Malko In Charge
Staff member
She wouldn’t be the first air show pilot with a DUI.
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that wasnt in the military... Just a small difference...Im guessing it wasnt a DUI as that would be all over the papers...Had to be something internal to the AF. They like to keep their secrets....
 

Nark

Sheepdog
that wasnt in the military... Just a small difference...Im guessing it wasnt a DUI as that would be all over the papers...Had to be something internal to the AF. They like to keep their secrets....
Meh, not always.
I know of an O5 relieved of command, later promoted to O6.
@Lawman.... may know that person.
 

Murdoughnut

Well sized member
In this world of millennial self-promotion and LinkedIN charlatans, I'm going to propose a theory that she had never actually flown the F-16, or any aircraft, but had used her Instagram to give that pereception, and nobody ever checked.

:sarcasm:
 

Lawman

Well-Known Member
In this world of millennial self-promotion and LinkedIN charlatans, I'm going to propose a theory that she had never actually flown the F-16, or any aircraft, but had used her Instagram to give that pereception, and nobody ever checked.

:sarcasm:
You laugh but given the military’s history on admin verification stuff like that has gone on. We had a guy get half way through the Army Flight School program before it was realized he had never actually gone through an officer producing school (OCS, WOCS, West Point, etc).

He had gone to Marine OCS in college... got kicked out a few weeks in, then convinced some Army Guard Unit he was an NCO in the Marines due to his E5 pay grade sans a DD-214. So they made him a sergeant, then he applied for a flight slot, and somehow slipped through all the way to the first phase of flight training.


There was a story last year about an Army NCO that has been jumping and on jump status for years having never gone to Airborne and carrying a forged certificate. Somebody noticed the font and form weren’t right and made some phone calls.


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