- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 29, 2018

Lt. Col. Paul Goossen has been removed as commander of the 69th Bomb Squadron at Minot Air Force Base over phallic drawings displayed on cockpit screens during a recent deployment, a report said Thursday.

The squadron’s commander since 2017, Lt. Col. Goossen was relieved from duty Tuesday “because penis drawings were discovered” on mapping software displayed onboard B-52 bombers, Military.com reported.

Members of the 69th squadron created the drawings with the software during its deployment to Al Udeid Air Force Base in Qatar between September 2017 and April 2018, the website reported. The images were later “used for laughs” during an end-of-deployment party, but they were ultimately discovered by their superiors and spurred the probe that resulted the commander’s removal, the report said.

Lt. Col. Goossen was removed “due to a loss of trust and confidence from his failure to maintain a professional workplace environment,” Air Force officials confirmed in a press release.

“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,” officials said in a statement announcing his removal Tuesday.

A spokesperson for Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota did not immediately return a message seeking clarification on the specific reason for his removal.

“Any actions or behavior that do not embody our values and principles are not tolerated within the Air Force,” Air Force Global Strike spokesman Lt. Col. Uriah Orland told Military.com.

Air Force Global Strike Command will release a report in the coming weeks offering more details in the change of command, Military.com reported.

Lt. Col. Goossen commanded the squadron during a campaign against Islamic State terrorists, the Department of Defense said previously. He led the 69th when its members flew nearly 6,000 combat hours and dropped more than 2,300 munitions on enemy targets in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan during a seven-month stretch that ended earlier this year, according to an April 2018 Pentagon report.

On Dec. 24, 2017, Lt. Col. Goossen was photographed participating in a Christmas Eve conference call President Trump conducted with troops from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

“Having the 69th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron be selected to receive a morale phone call from the President of the United States is a true Christmas gift and a real honor,” Lt. Col. Goossen afterwards, the Pentagon previously reported.

“We feel fortunate to represent all Air Force deployed personnel and we are humbled to have the opportunity out of so many deserving units,” he said in the press release.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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