Following allegations of getting a junior colleague pregnant during an affair, the Red Arrows’ top Wing Commander has been suspended from the aerobatic display team while the case is investigated.
Wing Commander David Montenegro, who is the Officer Commanding for the RAF’s Red Arrows team, is reported to have been suspended on Monday over claims he had an affair with a junior colleague, which resulted in her getting pregnant.
He is the latest pilot to reportedly be reprimanded by the RAF, following the launch of an inquiry into an apparent “toxic” culture at the Red Arrows.
Claims of misogyny, bullying and sexual harassment have tarnished the Red Arrows in recent months, with two pilots being sacked from the team and now the top commander being suspended until further notice.
Flight Lieutenant Damon Green was the first pilot to be reportedly sacked from the display team, following sexual assault allegations, and his sacking was followed by fellow Flight Lieutenant Will Cambridge, as Red 4 was hit was sexual harassment claims.
Mr Montenegro is the Red Arrows’ highest-ranked pilot, making him the most senior officer to face allegations since the inquiry launched.
The Officer Commanding the Red Arrows wrote a bestselling book about the display team earlier this year, though his future at the Reds has now been thrown up in the air.
The Daily Mail reported on Monday evening that Montenegro met the female corporal in question in 2017, while in a relationship with a woman he would go on to marry – with the affair apparently lasting around a year.
The Royal Air Force issued a statement on Saturday, November 18 as news broke of pilots being sacked from the Red Arrows display team, saying actions are being implemented to improve “understanding of what is and isn’t acceptable”.
A spokesperson for the RAF said: “Following allegations from individuals within the RAF Aerobatics Team (The Red Arrows), an Inquiry was initiated that revealed a broad range of unacceptable behaviours.
“The RAF Police Special Investigations Branch investigated specific allegations and whilst there were no criminal cases to be answered, we continue to look into the circumstances that led to the inquiry.
“To date, several RAF personnel have been investigated under the RAF’s Major Administrative Action Procedures. These investigations have resulted in a range of outcomes up to and including dismissals from the RAF.
“The inquiry recommended a variety of measures to improve behaviours and culture on the unit. Many of these recommendations have already been implemented and all are being pursued as a priority. They included actions to improve understanding of what is and isn’t acceptable and how to stop unacceptable behaviours.”
It has been reported by The Telegraph that Montenegro was part of the Red Arrows team’s tour of Gulf states, before allegedly being sent home over the weekend.
The RAF statement goes on to confirm that training methods and education have been offered to the Red Arrows team as part of the inquiry, as the team look to stamp out a perceived ‘toxic’ culture.
It continues: “The whole team has received extensive training on unacceptable behaviours and ‘Walk on By’ cultures. Additional training on unacceptable behaviours has also recently been implemented across the Royal Air Force.
“The RAF commends the actions of all those who came forward to provide the inquiry and subsequent investigations with their evidence. It is important for unacceptable behaviour to be called out and reported wherever and whenever it is encountered.
“We take all allegations of unacceptable behaviour extremely seriously and will continue to take decisive action against anyone who fails to uphold our high standards, in accordance with the Ministry of Defence’s Zero Tolerance Policy.”