Air Force Commander Fired After Grenades, Machine Gun Go Missing

Col. Jason Beers, 91st Security Forces Group commander, takes part in a ceremony at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., on Nov. 5, 2017. Beers was removed from his post after explosives and a machine gun were lost in separate incidents. Jonathan McElderry/Air Force
Col. Jason Beers, 91st Security Forces Group commander, takes part in a ceremony at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., on Nov. 5, 2017. Beers was removed from his post after explosives and a machine gun were lost in separate incidents. Jonathan McElderry/Air Force

The commander responsible for the Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, unit that lost both a machine gun and a box of grenades in recent weeks has been fired, the Air Force announced Wednesday.

Col. Jason Beers, 91st Security Forces Group commander, was relieved of his duties May 23 due "to a loss of trust and confidence after a series of events under the scope of his leadership, including a recent loss of ammunition and weapons," Minot officials said in a release.

His firing comes after airmen with the 91st lost a box of 32 40mm high-explosive MK 19 grenades May 1, which fell out of the back of a Humvee. After a quick, unsuccessful search, officials offered a $5,000 reward to anyone who may have picked up the box in Mountrail County. Days later, the 91st discovered it also was missing an M240 machine gun.

Neither the grenades nor the machine gun have been located. The unit's airmen are tasked with protecting the base's nuclear sites.

Air Force Global Strike Command, which oversees the base, initiated an immediate command-wide inventory check on all weapons following the two losses.

Beers was responsible for ensuring the 91st SFG was "trained, organized and equipped to secure 150 Minuteman III missiles and launch facilities and 15 missile alert facilities geographically separated throughout 8,500 square miles of the missile complex," the release said.

The Air Force did not disclose if a replacement for Beers has been named.

-- Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.

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