The commander of Marine Transport Squadron Belle Chasse out of New Orleans was sacked on Sept. 7.

Lt. Col. Aaron C. Locher was relieved of his command by Brig. Gen. Bradley S. James, commanding general of the 4th Marine Air Wing, “due to a loss in confidence Locher’s ability to continue leading Marines and Sailors of Marine Transport Squadron Belle Chasse,” Lt. Col. Theodore Wong, a spokesman for Marine Forces Reserve-New Orleans, said in an emailed statement to Marine Corps Times.

The Corps provided no further details regarding the firing of Locher.

The transportation squadron out of New Orleans is tasked with transporting VIPs and cargo in various combat theaters across the globe.

Lt. Col. Aaron Locher. (Marine Corps)
Lt. Col. Aaron Locher. (Marine Corps)

VMR Belle Chasse operates the UC-35, which is a Cessna transportation aircraft, and the UC-12W. The UC-12W is a modified version of the Hawker Beechcraft’s King Air 350.

The squadron has frequently deployed in support of Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Crisis Response – Africa and has supported operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Relieving a commander is never an easy decision, however the commanding general decided this action was in the best interest of the unit and the U.S. Marines Corps,” Wong said.

Locher is a UH-1N Huey pilot by trade, with multiple deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq, and is the recipient of a Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon.

“The 4th Marine Aircraft Wing is dedicated to supporting the high standards of the service, and the Nation, especially for those with the increased responsibility of command,” Wong said.