Skip to main content

Nuclear missile base sacks security chief after failing safety test

By Barbara Starr and Ben Brumfield, CNN
updated 8:40 PM EDT, Tue August 27, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The base operates about a third of the nation's Minuteman III nuclear missiles
  • Its commander will feel more confident about passing the next inspection without him
  • The security group with 1,200 people is responsible for protecting the nuclear operations

(CNN) -- A nuclear missile base in Montana that failed a safety test this month has let its security chief go.

The 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base operates about a third of the nation's Minuteman III nuclear missiles.

It did not relieve Col. David Lynch from his command over the security forces group because of the failure, the base said in a statement released this week. But missile wing commander, Col. Robert Stanley, will feel more confident about passing the next inspection without him.

Lynch led four squadrons and more than 1,200 people, whose duty it is to secure and protect the missile wing, which controls 150 long-range nuclear missile silos.

Air Force unit fails nuke inspection

Problems guarding American nukes

The 341st was the second nuclear missile wing to stumble over a safety and security inspection this year.

It received an "unsatisfactory rating" after making "tactical level errors" during one of several exercises conducted as part of the inspection.

The errors were not related to the operation of nuclear missiles, one Air Force official said. The precise issue was not disclosed.

The wing, which includes about 3,000 personnel in total, was not "decertified" to conduct nuclear operations, which would have indicated a more significant failure.

Earlier this year, another wing, based at Minot, North Dakota, did poorly in an inspection, resulting in the removal of 17 military personnel from their jobs.

17 Air Force officers stripped of authority to launch nuclear missiles

A third missile wing is located at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming.

CNN's Amanda Watts contributed to this report

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 11:17 PM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
The beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley by ISIS militants brings into focus the risks faced by reporters in conflict zones.
updated 12:33 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
About $35,000 was taken from the bank accounts of four passengers on board Flight 370.
updated 9:57 AM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
Five survivors of acid attacks capture India's attention with a "ground breaking" photo shoot.
updated 1:32 PM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
The execution of a journalist by a British-accented jihadist is a direct challenge to the international community. It's time for the U.S. to move, writes Frida Ghitis.
updated 8:19 AM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
In an exclusive CNN interview, Lance Armstrong admits to having a "f**k you" attitude.
updated 4:58 AM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
Summer isn't over yet. These new hotels are keeping it alive and fresh.
updated 11:35 AM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
You've seen her turn on the catwalk, but her income might make your head spin.
updated 8:36 PM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
The pain that Michael Brown's parents are going through is something Sybrina Fulton can relate to. She, too, lost a son in a controversial shooting.
updated 5:04 AM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
19-year-old Udi Segal explains why he won't join the country's military.
Drinkers guzzled an incredible 10.3 billion liters of this brand in 2013, making it the world's No.1 beer. And you may have never heard of it.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT