The U.S. Air Force relieved six leaders from their positions at a nuclear base in North Dakota but offered few details about why they were removed.
A brief press release said Maj. Gen. Andrew J. Gebara, commander of 8th Air Force, removed two commanders from their positions of leadership at Minot Air Force Base on Monday.
Task and Purpose identified the these leaders as Col. Gregory Mayer, who led the 5th Mission Support Group, and Maj. Jonathan Welch, commander of the 5th Logistics Readiness Squadron.
They were removed “due to a loss of confidence in their ability to complete their assigned duties,” the 8th Air Force said.
The 5th Mission Support Group, which has about 1,600 military and civilian members, focuses on “delivering essential installation mission support and community service, securing our resources, providing proper care of base facilities and infrastructure, while developing combat-ready airmen,” per the base website. It serves the 5th Bomb Wing, 91st Missile Wing, and other units.
Four subordinate leaders were also relieved of duty by commanders at the base, but the 8th Air Force statement did not provide specifics about the circumstances of their removal. Overall, the 8th Air Force said further details would not be released to protect their privacy.
“These personnel actions were necessary to maintain the very high standards we demand of those units entrusted with supporting our Nation’s nuclear mission,” Gebara said in a statement provided by the 8th Air Force.
“Eighth Force continues to safeguard global combat power and conduct around-the-clock strategic deterrence operations in a safe, secure and effective manner,” Gebara added. “Our mission is foundational to our Nation’s defense, and we remain committed to the success of that no-fail mission.”
Minot Air Force Base, which opened in 1957, is home to a number of wings and squadrons.
“Minot AFB is the only dual-wing nuclear capable base in the Air Force, hosting two legs of the Strategic Triad,” according to the base’s mission statement. “The 5th Bomb Wing operates 26 B-52 aircraft, and the 91st Missile Wing operates 150 ICBM sites.”
The base made headlines in 2007 when six nuclear warheads affixed to cruise missiles were mistakenly loaded onto a flight to Louisiana, leading to investigations and several officers being relieved of duty.