The news release from Malmstrom AFB’s 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs Office was carefully crafted and a little over 200 words in length. The first two sentences basically said it all. It also ended a career:
The 341st Security Forces Group commander was relieved of command Aug. 22.
341st Missile Wing commander, Col. Robert Stanley, relieved Col. David Lynch from command of the 341st SFG due to a loss of confidence in Lynch’s ability to lead his group.
Malmstrom officials were quick to point out that “Lynch’s removal is not a result of the recent Nuclear Surety Inspection failure. However, as the 341 MW prepares for a re-inspection, Stanley must have full confidence in the leadership ability of his commanders.”
The Great Falls Tribune also reported, “Lynch’s removal was not related to any misconduct.”
So what caused Colonel Robert Stanley (Malmstrom’s Wing Commander), to send a news release about a colonel being relieved from duty on a Friday afternoon, which led to his photo being pasted on Saturday’s front page of the local newspaper?
We may never know because the internal workings on military installations are kept pretty quiet – unless they are released to save face. It’s certainly not the normal method of operation. They sure don’t notify the media when most Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers are relieved from duty.
Col. Stanley is the commander of a nuclear missile wing that just failed a Nuclear Surety Inspection. That news spread around the world quickly and brought shame to the Wing, to the Air Force, and to the Department of Defense. Stanley’s name is forever attached to the failure. His career took a hit.
Stanley’s superiors must have “full confidence” in his leadership ability as well.
Jackie M. (Mike) Brown honorably served his country in the United States Air Force from 1981 to 1992 and also served as a military advisor to a U.S. senator from 1995 to 2007. His assignments while on active duty included Malmstrom Air Force Base near Great Falls, Montana.
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