The commander of the maintenance group at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, was relieved of command by the 49th Wing commander “to ensure proper command climate and appropriate leadership of our Airmen,” according to a Holloman news release quoted in local media.

Col. Danzel Albertsen had been in charge of the 49th Maintenance Group since June 2022. He was relieved by Col. Justin Spears, commander of the 49th Wing, on March 25.

Holloman is the primary training site for F-16 and MQ-9 pilots, training more than 150 F-16 pilots and 700 MQ-9 pilots and sensor operators annually. The wing supports 21,000 military and civilian personnel through the 635th Materiel Maintenance Group and the 704th Test Group.

Col. Justin Spears, commander of the 49th Wing, relieved Albertsen when he “determined new leadership was necessary to ensure proper command climate and appropriate leadership of our Airmen,” according to KTSM, a local news station.

The base is also one of the most remote in the continental U.S., 100 miles north of El Paso, TX and 200 miles south of Albuquerque, N.M. It sits on the edge of the White Sands Missile Range, which also encompasses the Trinity site, where the first atomic bomb was exploded.

A “mustang” officer who rose from the enlisted ranks, Albertsen has spent nearly all of his 33-year career in Air Force maintenance positions. At Holloman he oversaw the 49th Maintenance Group’s four squadrons and 2,100 maintenance personnel. The group was responsible for 82 F-16s, 24 MQ-9 Reaper drones and 12 Ground Control Stations, totaling $2.5 billion in total assets, according to his Air Force biography.

A native of Saint Joseph, Missouri, Albertsen enlisted in the Air Force in 1991 and spent 10 years as a maintenance crew chief, including as a flying crew chief about KC-135 tanker aircraft. He was commissioned in 2001 through the service’s Officer Training School and has commanded twice at the squadron level. His awards and decorations include a Bronze Star and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal.

The deputy commander of the 49th Maintenance Group, Lt. Col. Kristen Torma, will assume command of the group immediately, the station reported.

UPDATE: 3/26/2024; This article has been updated with additional biographical information on Col. Albertsen.

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