The U.S. Air Force relieved six leaders, including two commanders, from their positions at a nuclear base in North Dakota “due to a loss of confidence.”
Maj. Gen. Andrew J. Gebara relieved the commanders of the 5th Mission Support Group and 5th Logistics Readiness Squadron at Minot Air Force Base on Monday, according to an Air Force press release. Commanders relieved four other subordinate leaders.
The six were relieved of leadership positions due to a loss of confidence in their ability to complete assigned duties, the press release stated.
“These personnel actions were necessary to maintain the very high standards we demand of those units entrusted with supporting our Nation’s nuclear mission,” said Gebara.
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Minot Air Force Base is one of three nuclear bases in the U.S. and is shared by two units. The 5th Bomb Wing operates nuclear-capable B-52H Stratofortress bombers, and the 91st Missile Wing maintains an arsenal of 150 Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles, according to its website.
A base spokesperson confirmed to Military.com that the relieved commanders were Col. Gregory Mayer of the 5th Mission Support Group and Maj. Jonathan Welch of the 5th Logistics Readiness Squadron.
Welch’s unit was a component of Mayer’s 5th Mission Support Group, both of which serve to support B-52H pilots of the 5th Bomb Wing, according to Minot’s website.
An archived version of Mayer’s now-deleted biography stated that he had been commander of the 5th Mission Support Group since June. He had been with the Air Force since being commissioned in 1999 through ROTC at Texas A&M University and deployed to Iraq, Kuwait and Oman.
Further details on Welch’s background were not immediately available.
The firing of six nuclear base leaders came less than a month after the revelation that a retired Air Force intelligence officer admitted to illegally taking home hundreds of top secret and classified documents.
This was a breaking news story. The details were periodically updated as more information became available.