New Air Combat Command leader, Gen. John D.W. Corley has relieved of their commands at Minot AFB, N.D. the commanders of the 5th Bomb Wing and the 5th Maintenance Group and at Barksdale AFB, La. the commander of the 2nd Operations Group, according to Maj. Gen. Richard Newton III, assistant deputy chief of staff for operations, plans, and requirements, who briefed Pentagon reporters Friday about the August “Bent Spear” incident. Newton, who briefed on the results of the ACC commander directed investigation (see above), did not provide names during the briefing, but a subsequent Pentagon release identified the officers as Col. Bruce Emig, Col. Cynthia Lundell, and Col. Todd Westhauser, respectively. Newton reminded reporters that the Air Force already had fired the commander of the munitions group at Minot and said that other actions, including decertifying individuals for nuclear weapons work, would number “less than a hundred,” promising to get the actual number to reporters later. (Associated Press has reported that the Air Force has decertified 65 airmen.) Newton also said that the Air Force has not ruled out judicial proceedings, if appropriate, following subsequent investigations.
A majority of panelists convened by the Atlantic Council to assess the situation in Ukraine believe that Russia will have enough forces—and recent practice in Belarus—to invade Ukraine within a month. A senior Air Force official concurred, saying the service expects the conflict soon.