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August 26, 2013

News Briefs August 26, 2013

Commander of U.S. nuclear weapons unit removed

The Air Force has removed the commander of a nuclear weapons unit at a Montana base following a failed safety and security inspection this month that marked the second major misstep this year for one of the military’s most sensitive missions.

Military leaders say the decision to relieve Col. David Lynch of command at Malmstrom Air Force Base stems from a loss of confidence. They say it is not the result of the failed inspection first reported by The Associated Press on Aug. 13.

The 341st Missile Wing operates land-based nuclear missiles known as 450 Minuteman 3 intercontinental ballistic missiles. The unit failed a review of its adherence to rules that ensure the safety, security and control of its nuclear weapons. Lynch’s removal was announced Friday.

This is the second time in recent months that an Air Force nuclear commander was replaced following a high-profile security problem.

Lt. Col. Randy Olson was relieved of duty at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, in June. The AP first reported an unprecedented sidelining of 17 launch officers there in May following an exceptionally poor review in the spring.

The 341st Security Forces Group, which Lynch took over in June 2012, has more than 1,200 personnel members and four squadrons. It provides security for the 341st Missile Wing, 15 launch control centers and 150 nuclear missile silos in a huge area of central Montana.

There is no timeline for selecting Lynch’s replacement, however, Col. John Wilcox, Air Force Global Strike Command Security Forces Division director, will take over on an interim basis. AP

Iran warns U.S. over military move against Syria

An Iranian commander is warning the United States over a possible military move against the Tehran-backed regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The semi-official Fars news agency, which has close ties to Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard, quotes Gen. Masoud Jazayeri as warning that ìtrespassing over the red line in Syria will have severe consequences for the White House.

Gen. Jazayeri did not provide details but said Washington is well aware of such red lines. He said the war in Syria is a product of a U.S. plot and regional reactionary countries, a common reference to Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Earlier Aug. 24, Washington said U.S. naval forces are moving closer to Syria as President Barack Obama considers a military response to Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons. AP

Korean War veteran missing 63 years to get funeral

MCHENRY, Ill. – The family of a Korean War veteran declared missing in action 63 years ago will finally get to give him a funeral and burial with full military honors.

The (Crystal Lake) Northwest Herald reports Donald Victor MacLean was declared missing in action in 1950, about two months before his 18th birthday.

Donna Mitchell of McHenry is MacLean’s twin sister. She says she and another sister wrote numerous letters to the Army over the years asking what happened to their brother.

In 2012 new DNA testing identified MacLean as being among more than 800 unidentified Korean War veterans buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.

His remains will be flown to Chicago this week. A burial is scheduled for Aug. 28 in the northwest suburb of Cary, Ill. AP

Ex-lawmaker gets DFC for Vietnam heroics

BATAVIA, N.Y. ó A former state lawmaker from western New York has been awarded a medal for helping save a wounded Special Forces soldier during a rescue operation in Vietnam 45 years ago.

The Daily News of Batavia reports that former Assemblyman Charles Nesbitt of Albion received the Distinguished Flying Cross during his Army helicopter unitís reunion over the weekend in Batavia.

Nesbitt piloted a helicopter that took part in the rescue of a commando whose chopper had been shot down during a secret mission in November 1968. His co-pilot had originally submitted Nesbitt for a higher medal after the war, but didnít learn until 1999 that no award had been issued.

The paperwork was resubmitted, and Nesbitt learned earlier this month that he had been approved for the Distinguished Flying Cross. AP




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