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At least 10 of the missile officers reprimanded and forced into retraining at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., have been cleared for duty, with the others “progressing very well” through the program, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said.
In April, the 91st Missile Wing at Minot removed 17 officers from duty after the Minuteman III wing earned the equivalent of a “D” during an inspection, with another two later taken off watch after the wing went through additional testing, evaluation and commander assessment, Global Strike Command spokeswoman Michele Tasista said. Six of the officers have finished retraining and were reinstated as of May 31.
Sixteen of the 19 are expected to be recertified and return to alert duty by June 4. The last three will recertify at a later date that has not been determined, Tasista said.
“The leadership at Minot is very happy with how that is going so far,” Welsh said. “They’re very happy with the effort that the crews who are in the retraining process have put into this.”
The steps taken to return the officers to duty included requalification training, a qualification evaluation and emergency war order and weapon system certification briefings. In addition to the retraining, some officers were disciplined. The wing currently has another seven officers decertified for issues not related to the inspection, Tasista said.
The Minot crew performed a test launch May 22 of an unarmed Minuteman III missile from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The launch went “exceedingly well,” Welsh said.
In mid-May, Air Force Global Strike Command held a commandwide exercise that included no-notice inspections on all of the command’s missile units. The inspections “all went very well,” Welsh said.