Malmstrom Squadron Commander Fired Over Unhealthy Command Climate

Lt. Col. Raymond Fortner accepts command of the 741st Missile Security Forces Squadron July 12, 2017 at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. (U.S. Air Force/John Turner)
Lt. Col. Raymond Fortner accepts command of the 741st Missile Security Forces Squadron July 12, 2017 at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. (U.S. Air Force/John Turner)

A security forces commander at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana, has been relieved from his post because he allegedly created an unhealthy command climate, according to the Air Force.

Lt. Col. Raymond Fortner, the 741st Missile Security Forces Squadron commander, was removed from his position Tuesday "due to a loss of trust and confidence" after a series of events occurred within his unit, the service said in a release.

Fortner was relieved by Col. Aaron Guill, the 341st Security Forces Group commander, following a series of complaints that made their way to the 341st Missile Wing Inspector General and prompted a command-directed investigation, officials with the 341st said.

The investigation concluded that "several of the complaints were substantiated by the evidence," the release said.

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Officials did not disclose the nature of the complaints nor when the command-directed investigation was initiated. A Malmstrom official told Air Force Magazine the legal review finished up Nov. 11.

Fortner will be reassigned to another position at Malmstrom Air Force Base until he is scheduled to rotate to another duty location, the release said. Maj. Cody Elliott has been named as the squadron's interim commander.

Fortner assumed command of the 741st on July 12, 2017, according to a released Air Force photo. He was responsible for training, organizing and equipping "more than 250 security forces personnel assigned to the 741st MSFS," the service said.

The 741st oversees security for the base, which operates and maintains Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Earlier this year, the Air Force removed the commander of a security forces group at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, after his unit at the missile base lost both a machine gun and a box of grenades.

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 at the time.

Beers was reassigned a month later to manage security forces at Air Force Special Operations Command.

-- Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @oriana0214.

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