Cherry Point Commander Relieved of Duty

Another, I can’t believe it . . .

Col. Denn a decorated officer who has risked his life thousands of times in order to protect the citizens of the of the United States and yet he choose to risk the lives of thousands by driving impaired.  We can continue to talk about the dangers of drunk driving and we can continue to education about the dangers of impaired driving, but until we actually put some teeth behind all our talk and education we will continue to bury and mourn the death of about 17,000 US citizens who die each year as a result of impaired driving which is 4x as many who died in each year of the Iraq war.


CAMP LEJEUNE — The commanding officer of Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, who was arrested and charged with drunk driving Monday night in Newport, was relieved of command Wednesday by the commanding general of Marine Corps Installations East.

Col. Douglas A. Denn, 47, was relieved by Maj Gen. Carl B. Jensen due to a “loss of confidence” in Col. Denn’s ability to command, according to a news release released by the major general.

The relief occurred as a result of an investigation into allegations of Col. Denn driving under the influence that eroded “good order and discipline,” according to the release. Col. Denn, who took command of the air station in August 2009, has been temporarily assigned to administrative duties at the air station.

Col Robert D. Clinton, executive officer, MCAS Cherry Point, has assumed command. A CH-46E helicopter pilot and graduate of the Naval War College, Col. Clinton has previously commanded Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 261 and served with U.S. Pacific Command, 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade. Prior to his assignment at MCAS Cherry Point, Col. Clinton was the Officer In Charge of the II MEF Forward Command.

Court records in Beaufort show Newport Police Officer Justin Ferrell stopped Col. Denn at 11 p.m. on Highway 70 in Newport for speeding. He was then charged with driving while impaired as a result of blowing 0.14 in a blood alcohol test (legal limit is 0.08), speeding 67 mph in a 55 mph zone and possession of an open container in the passenger area of the vehicle.

Prior to arriving at Cherry Point, Col. Denn served in command at various duty stations. They included Marine Aircraft Group 31 and Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 312 in Beaufort, South Carolina.  Col. Denn, a jet pilot, has more than 3,500 flight hours and has received numerous decorations, including the Defense Superior Service Medal, Meritorious Service medal, Navy Commendation Medal with three gold stars and Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.

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