Air Force Removes 6 Leaders at Nuclear Base, Gives No Explanation

Air Force Removes 6 Leaders at Nuclear Base, Gives No Explanation
2nd Lt. Oliver Parsons, left, and 1st Lt. Andy Parthum check systems in the control room where they work a 24-hour shifts at an ICBM silo near Minot, North Dakota, that houses 10 nuclear-tipped Minuteman 3 missiles that the Pentagon wants to replace with the LGM-35 Sentinel. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Jack Phillips

The U.S. Air Force confirmed it removed six leaders from their positions at a nuclear base in North Dakota, although few details were provided about why.

A news release issued by the military branch said that Maj. Gen. Andrew J. Gebara, commander of the 8th Air Force,  removed two commanders at Minot Air Force Base on Monday. They were identified as the commanders of the 5th Mission Support Group and the 5th Logistics Readiness Squadron.

“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. He did not elaborate.

The Air Force also said that four additional subordinate leaders assigned to Minot were relieved. Further details about the individuals will not be provided due to privacy concerns, it said.

“Eighth Force continues to safeguard global combat power and conduct around-the-clock strategic deterrence operations in a safe, secure and effective manner,” Gebara said. “Our mission is foundational to our Nation’s defense, and we remain committed to the success of that no-fail mission.”

The Epoch Times has contacted the U.S. Air Force for comment.

The 5th Mission Support Group is focused on “providing flawless mission support” and “delivering essential installation mission support and community service, securing our resources, providing proper care of base facilities and infrastructure, while developing combat-ready airmen,” according to the base’s website. The group serves the 5th Bomb Wing, 91st Missile Wing, 5th Logistics Readiness Squadron, and others.
An inert Minuteman III missile in a training launch tube at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., on June 25, 2014. (Charlie Riedel/AP Photo)
An inert Minuteman III missile in a training launch tube at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., on June 25, 2014. (Charlie Riedel/AP Photo)
Minot Air Force Base, according to its website, is the “only dual-wing nuclear capable base in the Air Force, hosting two legs of the Strategic Triad.” The 5th Bomb Wing operates 26 nuclear-capable B-52 bombers, while the 91st Missile Wing operates 150 intercontinental ballistic missile sites.
Minot has experienced several high-level dismissals over the past 20 years or so, including the ousting of the 91st Missile Wing Operations Support Squadron chief in 2021, the 69th Bomb Squadron and 91st Security Forces Group commanders in 2018, the 741st Missile Squadron chief in 2014, the 91st Missile Wing head in 2009, and the 5th Bomb Group head in 2007, according to the Air Force Times.

Concerns were raised last year when Chinese firm Fufeng sought to build a corn mill in Grand Forks, North Dakota, located about 200 miles from Minot Air Base and about 12 miles from the Grand Forks Air Force base. Local and federal officials had said that the company had extensive ties to the Chinese Communist Party.

But Fufeng’s plans were halted when the Grand Forks City Council voted 5–0 earlier this month to strike down the company’s proposal. Grand Forks Mayor Brandon Bochenski said the move to block the mill was prompted by a letter from the Air Force, which was sent to Sens. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.). That letter said the mill “presents a significant threat to national security with both near- and long-term risks of significant impacts to our operations in the area.”
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter with 15 years experience who started as a local New York City reporter. Having joined The Epoch Times' news team in 2009, Jack was born and raised near Modesto in California's Central Valley. Follow him on X:
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