The US Air Force has removed the commander of a major nuclear weapons unit at a base in the US state of Montana over a failed security inspection earlier this month.
Colonel David Lynch, commander of Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana, will transition into retirement due to a loss of confidence following a failed safety and security inspection which was reported by the Associated Press on August 13, said military leaders.
The unit under the command of Lynch failed to review its adherence to rules ensuring the safety of its nuclear missiles.
Lynch’s command included the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base, which operates 150 Minuteman 3 intercontinental ballistic missiles or one third of Washington’s land-based nuclear missiles.
The 341st Missile Wing was the second nuclear missile wing in the US that did poorly in an inspection this year. US Air Force’s three nuclear missile wings each operate 150 Minuteman 3 intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Earlier this year, an exceptionally poor review at the 91st Missile Wing at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota led to an unprecedented sidelining of 17 launch officers and the relieving of Lt. Col. Randy Olson of duty.
In 2008, the US Air Force caused a series of nuclear embarrassments. In one instance, six nuclear-tipped missiles were transported on a B-52 bomber and the pilot had no knowledge the nuclear missiles were aboard when he flew from Minot in North Dakota to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.