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E-mail From Washington

From: Jamie McIntyre/CNN Military Affairs Correspondent
In: Washington
Posted 10-2-97

Subject: Air Force defends flying record of nominee for top civilian post

The Air Force is defending the flying record of Florida state legislator Daryl Jones, President Clinton's pick to be the next Secretary of the Air Force.

The Air Force confirms a published report in The Washington Post that Jones was removed from flying status as a reserve pilot flying F-16 fighter jets at Homestead Air Force Base in 1991, but insists the move was routine, and does not reflect negatively on Jones' service.

An Air Force spokesman says the removal of flying status came after Jones's proficiency in the cockpit deteriorated because he was unable to fly the number of training flights required.

The spokesman says the move came at a time when Jones, an attorney, had entered Florida politics, and could no longer devote the time necessary to meet the Air Force's minimum requirments of eight-to-ten training flights month.

Pentagon officials say the problem is common to older pilots in the reserves who fly on a part-time basis, and should have no effect on Jones' confirmation as Air Force Secretary, the civilian in charge of the Air Force.

One official said, "Jones was a good pilot with an excellent record. The removal from flight status does not reflect negatively on either his service or character. In fact his should be given high marks for maintaining his relationship with the unit, even after he was no longer rated to fly.

Jones remains a "qualified pilot", entitled to wear his pilot's wings on his reserve uniform.

Jones is currently a Major in the Air Force Reserve, and is up for promotion to Lt. Colonel.

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