Air Force cheating scandal: Nine unit commanders now relieved of duty

Air Force cheating scandal: Nine unit commanders now relieved of duty

WASHINGTON – The Air Force has yanked nine nuclear missile commanders from their jobs after as many as 91 missile launch crew members were implicated in a cheating scandal on proficiency tests.

The nine officers – majors, colonels and lieutenant colonels – will face administrative punishment, the Air Force said Thursday.

A tenth commander – Col. Robert Stanley, leader of the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force base in Montana – was permitted to resign.

The scandal at the Montana base, which is responsible for maintaining and operating 150 nuclear-armed missiles, involved launch-crew members who cheated on proficiency tests or knew about cheating and did nothing about it.

Those crew members face punishment ranging from mild “letters of counsel” to criminal courts martial, said Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson, head of the Air Force Global Strike Command.

The nine commanders were pulled from their posts not because they were involved in the cheating, but because the wrongdoing was widespread and they did not know about it.

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