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Air Force relieves six officers after failing safety inspection at nuclear base

Six Air Force officers were relieved earlier this week after their units had "vehicle and equipment" that failed a safety inspection, a defense official told CBS News on Wednesday.

The Air Force relieved two commanders and four subordinates from the 5th Mission Support Group and the 5th Logistics Readiness Squadron at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota "due to a loss of confidence in their ability to complete their assigned duties," according to a Monday news release from Air Force Global Strike Command.

The defense official said that some of the vehicles and equipment that failed the safety inspection had failed a previous one and had not been brought into compliance with regulations. It's unclear what vehicles or equipment failed the inspection, but the units operated buses, HUMVEEs, forklifts and fuel trucks.

Minot is a nuclear-capable base but the officers relieved were not involved in the handling of nuclear weapons.

Minot houses ballistic missile silos and strategic bombers. In the past, there have been instances of nuclear bases like Minot mishandling nuclear weapons. For instance, in 2007, a B-52 Stratofortress bomber mistakenly flew nuclear-armed missiles from Minot to Louisiana.

On Monday, Maj. Gen. Andrew J. Gebara, commander of the 8th Air Force, said in a statement that the personnel actions against the six officers at Minot "were necessary to maintain the very high standards we demand of those units entrusted with supporting our nation's nuclear mission."

David Martin contributed to this report. 

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