An important US military base hosting hundreds of America’s nuclear weapons has been shaken up by the axing of six “nuclear leaders,” including two commanders.
The US Air Force gave few details as to exactly why they were firing and raising the development’s mystery factor.
Couldn’t Perform ‘Assigned Duties’
The nuclear leaders in question have been sacked from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota.
This hosts 150 of America’s intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) designed for delivering nuclear warheads in what would typically be an apocalyptic “Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD)” nuclear war scenario.
The six Minot Base officials, including two commanders, were relieved from their nuclear arsenal posts because of “a loss of confidence,” the US Air Force revealed.
The six nuclear force leaders were relieved by Major General Andrew Gebara, who commands America’s Eighth Air Force, the report reveals.
Those who have been axed include the commanders of the 5th Logistics Readiness Squadron and the 5th Mission Support Group, which are based in North Dakota’s Minot Air Force Base.
The exact positions of the other four “subordinate leaders” relieved of their duties have not been revealed. The press release of the US Air Force made it clear the US nuclear command no longer trusts the fired officers’ “ability to complete [their] assigned duties.”
In the announcement, Maj. Gen. Gebara is quoted as saying that he had to make the decision about “these personnel actions” in order to “maintain” the high standards of the respective military units.
He notes the military units in question are “entrusted” with supporting America’s “nuclear mission.”
Air Force relieves 2 commanders, 4 leaders at North Dakota nuclear bomber, missile base https://t.co/0WIYDhi0i5
— Fox News (@FoxNews) February 28, 2023
US Air Force B-52H Stratofortress assigned to 23rd Bomb Squadron takes off from Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, Feb. 23, to participate in Bomber Task Force 23-2 at Moron Air Base, Spain. pic.twitter.com/NFpKrU19xc
— Ryan Chan 陳家翹 (@ryankakiuchan) February 25, 2023
United States Air Force Europe Command🇺🇸🇪🇺
Four B-52 Bomber Stratofortress strategic aircraft arrived at Moron Air Base in Spain on Friday.
V Squadron Bomber fighters from Minot, North Dakota, have been deployed to the EU "Strengthening with NATO Allies and Partners". pic.twitter.com/EHV59qzz2G
— vanhoa (@vanhoa2272) February 25, 2023
They Were Servicing America’s Top Nuclear Bombers
The report points out the Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota is one out of a total of three nuclear bases inside the United States. According to the base’s website, it is used jointly by two units, the 5th Bomb Wing and the 91st Missile Wing.
The former runs the B-52H Stratofortress bombers, which are capable of carrying nuclear weapons, while the latter is in charge of an arsenal of some 150 intercontinental ballistic missiles “Minuteman III.”
In a subsequent report by Military.com, a spokesperson for the Minot Air Force Base confirmed the names of the commanders that have been relieved of their duties: Colonel Gregory Mayer and Major Jonathan Welch.
The latter’s unit was actually part of Mayer’s 5th Mission Support Group, the report explains. Both of those groups serve as support units to the pilots of B-52H bombers from the 5th Bomb Wing, according to the Minot Base’s structure.
Mayer’s biography has been deleted from the website, but an archived version reveals he served as the 5th Mission Support Group’s commander since June 2022.
He had also served in the US Air Force since 1999 when he got commissioned at Texas A&M University through the Reserve Officer Training Corps. He has been deployed abroad to Iraq, Oman, and Kuwait.
The two publications quoted above could not produce details on Welch’s background.
The axing of the six officers at Minot Air Force Base comes after last month it was revealed a former Air Force intelligence officer had illegally taken hundreds of classified records.This article appeared in The State Today and has been published here with permission.