Troubles plague nuclear mission
WASHINGTON — The Air Force on Monday fired two more nuclear commanders and disciplined a third, fresh evidence of leadership lapses in a nuclear missile corps that has suffered a rash of recent setbacks, including the firing last year of its top commander.
The most senior officer to be relieved of command was Col. Carl Jones, the No. 2 commander of the 90th Missile Wing at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., in charge of 150 of the Air Force’s 450 Minuteman 3 nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles. He was dismissed “for a loss of trust and confidence in his leadership abilities” and has been reassigned.
The actions were confirmed in response to an inquiry about an Air Force investigation of two commanders at the 91st Missile Wing at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., responsible for 150 Minuteman 3 missiles.
A spokesman for Air Force Global Strike Command said missile squadron commander Lt. Col. Jimmy “Keith” Brown was relieved of command when an investigation found he engaged in “unlawful discrimination” by indicating pregnancy would hurt a woman’s career.
Also, in March, a two-person crew at a launch control center felt ill from fumes in a refurbishment project but remained at their post out of fear that Brown would take action against them if they left. They later were hospitalized.
The second officer investigated was Col. Richard Pagliuco, commander of the 91st Operations Group at Minot.