With most of the top leadership at Malmstrom Air Force Base removed last week, the new leadership team came in quickly and quietly.
The new commander, Col. Tom Wilcox, assumed command of the 341st Missile Wing on Thursday, the same day Col. Robert Stanley announced he was resigning his command and retiring.
Wilcox previously served as director of the Security Forces Division and director of Installations and Logistics at Air Force Global Strike Command in Louisiana.
Wilcox is not a career missileer. He started in security forces at Malmstrom in 1992 but has not served as a missile crew member. All of the airmen involved in the cheating investigation were missile crew members who actually sit in the missile capsules to monitor and control the missile system.
“We selected the best leader to command the 341st Missile Wing,” Maj. Gen. Jack Weinstein, 20th Air Force commander, said. “He is a nuclear security expert with a foundation in safe, secure and effective nuclear operations.”
The new leadership team was handpicked by Weinstein, whose command is the unit that Malmstrom falls under, and Weinstein reports to AFGSC.
“Each commander was selected based on their technical expertise and ability to lead through change,” Weinstein told the Tribune. “Each person selected brings a skill necessary for safe, secure and effective nuclear operations. They are all uniquely qualified.”
The new operations group commander is Col. Glenn Hillis. He came from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and replaced Col. Mark Schuler, who was relieved of command last week, as was his deputy. Now, Hillis’ deputy is Lt. Col. Jeffrey M. Johnson, who is a “hands-on nuclear expert with experience as a mission commander on the STRATCOM Airborne Command Post,” Weinstein said. STRATCOM is U.S. Strategic Command and includes AFGSC and all ICBM bases.
All three of the missile squadrons at Malmstrom have new commanders to replace those who were relieved last week. They are Lt. Col. Kristen Nemish, Lt. Col. Justin McMillian and Lt. Col. Patrick Baum.
According to Weinstein, they each bring “a necessary skill set to the crew force — ICBM testing, targeting, weapon system, codes and emergency war order knowledge and Headquarters Air Force experience.”
The new 341st Operations Support Squadron commander is Lt. Col. Justin Mulkey.