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Col. David Augustine will step down as leader of the 122nd Fighter Wing.

Air base commander to retire

The commander of Fort Wayne's Air National Guard base, cleared last month of wrongdoing after anonymous allegations that he misappropriated public funds, will retire in coming months.

The fighter wing and the Indiana National Guard both confirmed Sunday that Col. David Augustine will step down as leader of the 122nd Fighter Wing, a post he has had since 2011.

"He has decided to retire, and it's medically based," Lt. Col. Cathy Van Bree, public affairs officer for the Indiana National Guard, told The Journal Gazette in a telephone interview.

Two local TV stations - Indiana's News Center and WANE - reported Sunday evening that Augustine will step down.

Van Bree said Augustine, 50, did not disclose why he was retiring at this time. She said he told senior leaders of the Guard about his plans on Saturday.

"The retirement has nothing to do with the investigation," she said. "It just has to do with his medical situation."

After an internal investigation, the National Guard announced July 16 that none of 11 allegations of misconduct lodged against Augustine by an anonymous source had been substantiated.

Maj. Gen. Martin Umbarger, the state's adjutant general, said at the time that while Augustine had spent public funds on the items under review - about $195,000 for holiday parties, off-site seminars and speech classes for Guard members, a renovation design for his office, a neon sign for the base entrance and other expenses - those expenditures were common and acceptable practices at military bases.

Umbarger did disclose that Augustine has medical reasons that prevent him from flying and that could, after a year, result in his being relieved of his command at the air base.

Umbarger soon will start interviewing candidates to replace Augustine, Van Bree said Sunday.