6 Officers Fired After Missile Base Gets Inspection 'F'

2 commanders, 4 subordinates relieved of command at North Dakota's Minot Air Force Base
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 2, 2023 6:50 PM CST
Heads Roll at Missile Base After Failed Safety Inspection
Pilots from the 69th Bomb Squadron board a B-52H Stratofortress bomber in preparation for a flight on March 6, 2021, at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota.   (US Air Force/Senior Airman Josh W. Strickland via AP)

Six officers at an Air Force nuclear base were fired this week after units failed an inspection meant to ensure the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile is safe and secure, CNN reports. The two commanders and four subordinates "were in charge of caring for the infrastructure, fuel, and logistics support" at North Dakota's Minot Air Force Base, which is the only Air Force installation to house two legs of the so-called nuclear triad: intercontinental ballistic missiles and strategic bombers, per the AP. The outlet identifies the commanders as Col. Gregory Mayer of 5th Mission Support Group and Maj. Jonathan Welch of the 5th Logistics Readiness Squadron.

They were relieved "due to a loss of confidence in their ability to complete their assigned duties" following the nuclear surety inspection, Maj. Gen. Andrew J. Gebara, commander of 8th Air Force, said Monday, per CNN. "These personnel actions were necessary to maintain the very high standards we demand of those units entrusted with supporting our nation's nuclear mission." "We have deliberate and disciplined inspection protocols and we expect 100% compliance," added Col. Brus E. Vidal, director of public affairs at the Air Force Global Strike Command. "Anything less than 100% compliance is unacceptable."

Though the results of the inspection are classified, defense officials say a fail grade was given for "non-compliance vehicle and equipment safety inspections," per CNN and the AP. The AP notes "the units had not been compliant for some time." Mayer, who came to Minot last June, "oversaw 1,900 airmen across six squadrons and a base portfolio worth $4.3 billion," as part of 5th Mission Support Group, which "supports daily operations of the base's B-52H Stratofortress nuclear-capable bombers, Minuteman III nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles and launch control centers, and UH-1N helicopters," the Air Force Times reports, citing a biography removed from Minot's website on Monday. (More US Air Force stories.)

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