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Ousted Minot commander Westa to retire

Nov. 25, 2009 - 11:58AM   |   Last Updated: Nov. 25, 2009 - 11:58AM  |  
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Col. Joel Westa, the former 5th Bomb Wing commander fired Oct. 30, retired Monday rather than accept an assignment to Global Strike Command.

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Col. Joel Westa, the former 5th Bomb Wing commander fired Oct. 30, retired Monday rather than accept an assignment to Global Strike Command.

Westa was chosen to turn around the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., after airmen from the wing mistakenly loaded six nuclear warheads aboard a B-52 two years ago.

Maj. Gen. Floyd Carpenter, 8th Air Force commander, arrived unannounced to Minot and fired Westa after the wing failed its second nuclear inspection under Westa's command.

"We expected him to come in and fix the problems that were there," Carpeneter said in a telephone interview. "In those two years, he had some moments that were very good. ... Unfortunately, they were never consistent enough to get prepared for that inspection at the right time and place and get that mission focused as we needed it to be. I just had to make a change."

His firing came as a surprise to the airmen under his command, airmen at Minot told Air Force Times. The wing held a retirement ceremony for Westa on Nov. 23.

It's unclear what Westa's plans are for the future. He has not been made available for interviews since his firing.

Related reading

* General: Minot wing improved, but not enough

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