Text of U.S. Air Force statement announcing the dismissal of senior officers linked to the plane crash of Commerce Secretary Ron Brown:
May 30, 1996
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- As a result of facts developed during the investigation of the April 3 crash of a U.S. Air Force CT-43 aircraft in Dubrovnik, Croatia, the 17th Air Force Commander, Maj. Gen. Charles R. Heflebower, has lost confidence in the ability of the commander, vice commander, and operations group commander of the 86th Airlift Wing, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, to continue to effectively discharge their responsibilities. He relieved them Wednesday evening with the concurrence of General Michael E. Ryan, the commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe.
The officers relieved were: Brig. Gen. William E. Stevens, former commander, 86th Airlift Wing; Col. Roger W. Hansen, former vice commander, 86th Airlift Wing; and Col. John E. Mazurowski, former commander, 86th Operations Group.
Gen. Stevens will be replaced as wing commander on an interim basis by Col. Edward F. McPhillips, who had been serving as vice commander of 17th Air Force. Col. Hansen will be replaced as vice commander on an interim basis by Col. Larry E. Bickel, who had been serving as Inspector General for U.S. Air Forces Europe. Col. Mazurowski will be replaced as operations group commander on an interim basis by Col. Frank Laras, who had been deployed from Ramstein as the Deputy Director for Mobility Forces at the Combined Air Operations Center in Vicenza, Italy.
Permanent replacements are expected to arrive in the near future. Until the release of the accident investigation report, further comment concerning the findings of the accident board and corrective actions taken would be inappropriate.