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(WASHINGTON) — The Air Force’s two star general in charge of the wing responsible for its 450 nuclear missiles has been fired, a defense official confirmed to ABC News.

Maj. Gen. Michael Carey is being removed from command of the 20th Air Force, the official said.  That command is responsible for the three wings that maintain control of the 450 intercontinental ballistic missiles scattered in missile silos across the northern plains.

Lt. Gen. James Kowalski, the commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, made the decision because of a “loss of trust and confidence,” according to the official.   No other details about the firing were provided by the official. 

Kowalski’s command is responsible for two-thirds of the nation’s nuclear triad, including Air Force nuclear missiles and long-range bombers.

The firing has not been officially announced.

Earlier this week President Obama relieved of command the number two officer at U.S. Strategic Command.  Vice Admiral James Giardina had earlier been suspended from that command following a criminal probe into his potential use of counterfeit poker chips at an Iowa casino.

Obama became involved because only the president can relieve a three- and four-star officer from his post.  Giardina has been reassigned to an undetermined position within the Navy.

Earlier this year, two of the three missile wings under Carey’s command received unsatisfactory ratings in regular annual inspections.

In August, the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana, failed its third inspection in five years.

In May, the 91st Missile wing at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota suspended 19 missile officers for retraining after that unit received an unsatisfactory rating for one aspect of its inspection.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


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