The Air Force fired two more nuclear commanders yesterday 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 for being a "drunken boor." The most senior officer to be relieved was Col. Carl Jones, the No. 2 commander of the 90th Missile Wing at FE Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming, which is in charge of 150 of the Air Force's 450 Minuteman III nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles. A spokesman for Air Force Global Strike Command says Jones was removed after four instances in which he "acted in a manner that degraded his status as a senior officer and wing leader, including maltreating a subordinate."
Another missile squadron commander was fired over what the Air Force spokesman says was "a loss of confidence" in his ability to lead the squadron. An investigation found that Lt. Col. Jimmy "Keith" Brown of the 91st Missile Wing at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota engaged in "unlawful discrimination or harassment" by making statements indicating that "pregnancy would negatively affect a woman's career," the spokesman says. The probe also found that Brown had failed to ensure the well-being of troops at a launch control center who were hospitalized after becoming ill from fumes created by a refurbishment project. (Read more Air Force stories.)