New base commander has background as a reformer

Col. John M. Devillier replaces Col. Cassie B. Barlow Thursday.


The new commander at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is a 21-year-career officer who initiated reforms at the Air Force’s mortuary operations in the aftermath of a scandal at Dover Air Force Base.

Col. John M. Devillier will take over the high-profile post from Col. Cassie B. Barlow today in a change of command ceremony.

Devillier became commander of the Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations at Dover in May 2012 after allegations of mismanagement, missing human remains, and whistle-blower retaliation, according to The News Journal in Wilmington, Del. Employees praised Devillier during his tenure in Dover, The News Journal reported last week.

An Air Force Inspector General’s Office investigation in 2011 found no laws were broken, according to Air Force Times.

“I was sent to the Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations during a very challenging time for the organization and I tried my best to work with the first class team there to implement some necessary reforms,” Devillier said in a statement Wednesday released through a Wright-Patterson spokeswoman. “It is a very important mission, perhaps the most important mission of all. Bringing home our fallen heroes and reuniting them with their families and their nation is the mark of a great nation. I’m proud to have played even a small role in such important work.”

In an interview with this newspaper this year, Devillier said he would meet with airmen to outline expectations and assess morale when he took over the top post at Wright-Patterson. He also said he would address the issue of sexual assault in the military and build trust.

“You want to take care of the airmen and they’ll take care of the job and that’s my No. 1 motivator to take care of the folks around me,” Devillier said then.

Barlow took over the 88th Air Base Wing and its 5,000 airmen at Wright-Patterson in July 2012. She will retire after 26 years in the Air Force.

In her tenure, she said she faced “unprecedented” times, such as a temporary government shutdown and the furlough of civil service workers twice in 2013. Last year, sequestration-induced spending cuts resulted in slashed maintenance upkeep to the closure of the base library, among other consequences.

Barlow said it will be important for Devillier “to continue to build partnerships with and continue to build bridges (with the community) because as we’ve seen over the last two years, we’ve found those relationships within the Miami Valley were very important as we were going through furlough and sequestration…”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Community News

Air Force museum closes after initially opening during fed shutdown
Air Force museum closes after initially opening during fed shutdown

The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force closed Saturday after initially opening in the morning in the midst of a federal government shutdown. Hundreds of people had trekked inside the museum Saturday morning before the closure at 1 p.m., including Matthew and Leigh Boyce. The married coupled traveled to the Air Force museum from St.Louis, Missouri...
Police: Maine man punches himself in face to avoid sobriety test 
Police: Maine man punches himself in face to avoid sobriety test 

Police have accused a Maine man of punching himself several times in the face to avoid a Breathalyzer test, The Bangor Daily News reported. Police suspected Brian Fogg, 27, of Belfast, to be intoxicated when they were called to a residence on Jan. 13 and found Fogg’s vehicle stuck in a ditch, police said. Belfast police said Fogg and...
NFL championship games 2018: What time, what channel, odds for Jags vs. Patriots and Vikings vs. Eagles
NFL championship games 2018: What time, what channel, odds for Jags vs. Patriots and Vikings vs. Eagles

We are one day out from “Championship Sunday,” where the teams who will play in the Super Bowl will be determined. The Minnesota Vikings will take on the Philadelphia Eagles for the NFC Championship, while the New England Patriots play the Jacksonville Jaguars for the AFC title. If the Vikings win, they will be the first team to ever play...
Springfield men bring new life to old engine
Springfield men bring new life to old engine

“Only in America,” said Roger Vaglia’s superbly written obituary, “could the grandson of barely educated European immigrants, son of a father who quit school after eighth grade to work in the mines, end up at Harvard and then see both his children get Master’s degrees in their chosen fields.” Vaglia’s rise...
College student dies after on-campus shooting at Wake Forest
College student dies after on-campus shooting at Wake Forest

A 21-year-old student from Winston-Salem State University was shot and killed early Saturday after a fight broke out during a party at Wake Forest University, police said. The shooting occurred around 1 a.m., WXII reported. It took place on campus during a Delta Sigma Theta sorority party at The Barn, police said. Najee Ali Baker, 21, was...
More Stories