Lt. Col. Paul Goossen was removed “due to a loss of trust and confidence from his failure to maintain a professional workplace environment,” according to the Minot announcement. Maj. Natassia Cherne, head of public affairs for the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot, said in a follow-up email that Gen. Timothy Ray, head of Global Strike Command, made the decision to remove Goossen.
“The Air Force values and encourages a positive work atmosphere where all airmen are treated with dignity and respect, and leadership actions that do not reflect these ideals are not condoned.”
Cherne said a commander-directed investigation substantiated claims of an unprofessional work environment at the 69th. She said Goossen’s removal was not due to any criminal activity, and that he was the only commander removed, but did not provide any further details on what led to his removal.
Cherne said Goossen would not provide any comments at this time. Goossen did not respond to an email sent to his address.
The 69th is part of the 5th Bomb Wing’s 5th Operations Group, and flies B-52H Stratofortress bombers. It was reactivated in 2009.
Last year, Goossen and the 69th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron deployed to Al Udeid Air Base, where they bombed more than 700 Islamic State and Taliban targets in five countries. According to a Dec. 24 release, 15 airmen from the 69th, including Goossen, took part in a Christmas Eve conference call with President Trump.
Lt. Col. Dennis Zabka, who was director of operations for the 5th Operations Support Squadron, is now in command of the 69th.
The group commander of the 91st Security Forces Group at Minot — which is part of the 91st Missile Wing — was fired in May after the high-profile losses of a crate of grenade launcher ammunition and a machine gun. He soon moved to another leadership position at Air Force Special Operations Command.
Stephen Losey is the air warfare reporter for Defense News. He previously covered leadership and personnel issues at Air Force Times, and the Pentagon, special operations and air warfare at Military.com. He has traveled to the Middle East to cover U.S. Air Force operations.