The Air Force general responsible for conducting aerial warfare against the Islamic State has just been removed for inappropriate and salacious communication with a female subordinate.
An investigation into Air Force Lt. Gen. John Hesterman, assistant vice chief of staff, revealed he held a long and complicated relationship with a female of lower rank, which the service considers inappropriate and unprofessional, Air Force Times reports.
Hesterman was found guilty of misconduct for using incredibly sexually suggestive language in emails sent to an Air Force lieutenant colonel over the period of March 2010 to May 2011.
“I’ve missed you my lovely girl,” he wrote in one of the emails. He also wrote about wanting to see her again and would sign off his emails with “much love.”
“My dear and so beautiful…. On this Valentine’s Day, please know I am thinking of you… I miss you and hope you are happy and well. Much Love, J,” Hesterman wrote in one email. He also had a tendency to use a startling amount of emoticons.
Hesterman insisted to investigators he had no recollection of the emails being that over-the-top.
This female lieutenant colonel was married to a colonel at the time. When the colonel discovered the emails, he filed a complaint to the inspector general to initiate the investigation process. He also filed for divorce, and during divorce proceedings, the woman confirmed the emails were genuine.
The colonel said Hesterman’s relationship with his wife dated back at least to 2007 and also that Hesterman had interfered in his assignment. In 2007, Hesterman was still married.
When the husband was promoted to colonel, Hesterman allegedly said publicly that the colonel “married the girl we were all in love with.”
“The language used by Lt Gen Hesterman goes far beyond a mentorship scenario and is sexually suggestive in places and romantic in other places,” the report said, according to The Washington Post. “In engaging in such email exchanges, Lt Gen Hesterman violated [Air Force rules] because he adversely affected the Air Force, helped dissolve a marriage between two members, eroded good order, discipline, and respect for authority, and these exchanges indicate an abandonment of Air Force goals for personal interests.”
“Simply put, Lt Gen Hesterman’s emails to [the woman] — two officers, both married but not to each other — are sexually suggestive and indicate a strong desire to be with her in a romantic way,” the report added.
The general has filed paperwork to begin the retirement process, following his career as commander of Air Forces Central Command (AFCENT). From his position at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar from July 2013 to June 2015, he led the air war against ISIS.
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