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Montana nuclear missile chief fired for failed safety inspection

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The head of security at a nuclear missile base in Montana was fired from his position after failing to pass a recent safety inspection, a military spokesman said on Monday.

Col. David Lynch still maintains his command at the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base, CNN reported. But he's not heading up security operations any longer. The missile wing commander, Col. Robert Stanley, said in a statement released by the base that he felt more confident if Col. Lynch stepped aside from the duty.

The report didn't indicate who would take over Col. Lynch's duties.

The wing received an "unsatisfactory rating" on its most recent inspection last month, for making "tactical level errors" during exercises that were conducted as part of the test, CNN reported. One Air Force official said the errors weren't related to actual nuclear missile operation — but the wing wouldn't disclose the exact nature of the mistakes.

The wing is home to about 3,000 people and is in charge of storing and operating a third of the country's Minuteman III nuclear missiles, CNN reported. Col. Lynch oversaw four squadrons — more than 1,200 military members — and was tasked with protecting the wing's 150 long-range nuclear missile silos.

The wing wasn't decertified — meaning its errors weren't deemed significant failures. But the 341st is the second nuclear missile wing in the nation to receive a poor safety rating during a 2013 inspection, CNN reported. Minot North Dakota was forced to remove 17 military officials from their jobs due to a poor inspection rating received weeks ago.

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