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Malmstrom commander Stanley resigns

Mar. 27, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
Malmstrom Air Force Base commander Col. Rob Stanley has resigned, citing recent cheating allegations at the base near Great Falls.
Malmstrom Air Force Base commander Col. Rob Stanley has resigned, citing recent cheating allegations at the base near Great Falls. (Rion Sanders/ / Great Falls (Mont.) Tribune)
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Stanley’s resignation: ‘A Lesson To Remember’

Wing One Colleagues,
Over the past few months, we have been forced to navigate through some of the roughest waters most of us have ever experienced professionally. We've seen the reputation of our beloved wing and America's ICBM mission tarnished because of the extraordinarily selfish actions of officers entrusted with the most powerful weapon system ever devised by man. As you are now learning, the ramifications are dire. Many lives will be permanently changed as a result.
But this costly lesson must not be in vain.
The lesson? Had just one solitary airman spoken up for integrity, our leadership team would have been able to take action immediately.
Tragically, peer pressure and the fear of being an outcast prevailed. As a result, the misconduct had to be inadvertently discovered by OSI agents.
Think of how different the narrative would be had the silent Airman just come forward. That airman would now be lionized as a hero for casting aside his or her own fear of being made an outcast by a few inadequate peers.
That airman would have single-handedly preserved the honor and dignity of Malmstrom and all the wonderful people who make up this incredible wing.
But it didn't happen. Wrong won out over right ... the voice of integrity was silenced ... and the good guy lost at the end of the movie.
This is a wake-up call for everyone who has lost their sense of right and wrong, for those who have become cynical and for those indoctrinated by modern society to acquiesce when faced with bad behavior.
"All that is necessary for evil to flourish is for good people to do nothing." I highlighted this old axiom as the main point of my change of command speech a little over a year ago. I implored our formations of airmen that it never be said of Malmstrom that "we did nothing" in the face of evil. I can't imagine a more vivid reinforcement of that lesson than what we're going through now.
As your wing commander, it occurs to me that I've been blessed with the opportunity of a lifetime. It's been one I neither expected nor deserved.
Our amazing airmen and their families, the astoundingly supportive community and the successes of Wing One have far outweighed the bad. Just being allowed to be a small part of your lives is a memory that Cheryl and I will cherish forever. But, like all things of great value, such blessings come with equally great costs. I represent this wing to the world, and we let the American people down on my watch.
With that realization, and the genuine hope that my action will stir even the most apathetic hearts to action, I have decided to volunteer my resignation from this post effective immediately. This request has been accepted. I have also requested, and been approved for, retirement from the United States Air Force. If this sacrifice by Cheryl and me influences just one airman to stand up for what's right the next time they are confronted by immorality, it will have been worth every tear and sleepless night.
But I do have one last command: Each and every one of you must now give your full allegiance, support and enthusiasm to your new commander. I know that you will forge an even stronger team than the one we were so carefully building.
It's been the highest honor of my career to serve with the 341st Missile Wing and the Great Falls community. You will always occupy a special place in our hearts.
Col S.
Robert W. Stanly II, Colonel, USAF
Commander, 341st Missile Wing
Malmstrom AFB, Montana
-----

Malmstrom Air Force Base commander Col. Rob Stanley has resigned, citing recent cheating allegations at the base near Great Falls.

In a letter to Malmstrom airmen, Stanley wrote, “I represent this wing to the world, and we let the American people down on my watch. With that realization, and the genuine hope that my action will stir even the most apathetic hearts to action, I have decided to volunteer my resignation from this post effective immediately. This request has been accepted. I have also requested, and been approved for, retirement from the United States Air Force. If this sacrifice by Cheryl and me influences just one airman to stand up for what’s right the next time they are confronted by immorality, it will have been worth every tear and sleepless night.

“But, I do have one last command: Each and every one of you must now give your full allegiance, support and enthusiasm to your new commander. I know that you will forge an even stronger team than the one we were so carefully building.”

The Secretary of the Air Force and the commander of Air Force Global Strike Command are scheduled to brief the press this afternoon.

The Secretary of the Air Force and the commander of Air Force Global Strike Command are expected to provide the results of the command-directed investigation into cheating allegations and an update on the nuclear force improvement program during a press briefing this afternoon.

The investigation stemmed from a drug investigation that uncovered cheating on monthly tests by missile crew officers.

On Jan. 9, it was reported that airmen at Malmstrom were involved in an Air Force drug investigation. The report came the same day that the Air Force announced that Col. Robert Stanley, commander fo the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom, had been nominated by President Obama for the rank of brigadier general.

A week later, the cheating investigation was announced. Initially, 34 missile crew officers allegedly cheated or knew about cheating on a monthly proficiency test.

The investigation then expanded to 92 of the roughly 190 missile crew officers at Malmstrom.

“Over the past few months, we have been forced to navigate through some of the roughest waters most of us have ever experienced professionally. We’ve seen the reputation of our beloved wing and America’s ICBM mission tarnished because of the extraordinarily selfish actions of officers entrusted with the most powerful weapon system ever devised by man. As you are now learning, the ramifications are dire. Many lives will be permanently changed as a result,” Stanley wrote. “But, this costly lesson must not be in vain. The lesson? Had just one solitary airman spoken up for integrity, our leadership team would have been able to take action immediately. Tragically, peer pressure and the fear of being an outcast prevailed. As a result, the misconduct had to be inadvertently discovered by OSI agents. Think of how different the narrative would be had the silent airman just come forward. That airman would now be lionized as a hero for casting aside his or her own fear of being made an outcast by a few inadequate peers. That airman would have single-handedly preserved the honor and dignity of Malmstrom and all the wonderful people who make up this incredible wing.”

Lt. Col. Brett Ashworth, Air Force spokesman, said in late January that all leadership moves within 20th Air Force were being re-evaluated and final decisions were pending based on the outcome of the investigation.

The 20th Air Force oversees the three ICBM bases: Malmstrom, Minot AFB in North Dakota and F.E. Warren in Wyoming.

The 341st Operations Group includes all of Malmstrom’s missile crew officers.

The group commander, Col. Mark Schuler, was slated to assume command of the 91st Missile Wing at Minot AFB in North Dakota, according to Foreign Policy magazine, but that move was also hold, Ashworth said.

Schuler’s group includes three missile squadrons, a support squadron and the 40th Helicopter Squadron.

The group manages equipment, facilities, vehicles and aircraft worth more than $5 million, according to a Malmstrom fact sheet.

Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson, Global Strike commander, visited Malmstrom in February and said that the drug and cheating investigations stemmed from lapses in integrity, but that he was confident in the integrity of the majority of the 25,000 airmen under his command.

The integrity is a fundamental component of what it takes to wear the Air Force uniform, especially in the nuclear force, he said.

“Our job requires special trust. Everything we do is based on integrity. If we can’t trust you, that’s the basis for everything,” Wilson said of the nuclear force. “They know they have special trust and responsibility. We have high standards and hold them to that.”

Stanley assumed command at Malmstrom in February 2013. He previously served as the vice commander at Malmstrom.

“This is a wake-up call for everyone who has lost their sense of right and wrong, for those who have become cynical, and for those indoctrinated by modern society to acquiesce when faced with bad behavior,” Stanley wrote. “It’s been the highest honor of my career to serve with the 341st Missile Wing and the Great Falls Community. You will always occupy a special place in our hearts.

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