New commander takes over Mont. missile wing

Col. Tom Wilcox has taken command of the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base as of Friday morning, said an Air Force official.

On Thursday, Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James and Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, announced at a Pentagon news conference the findings from an investigation into a test cheating scandal involving intercontinental ballistic missile launch officers at Malmstrom and a force improvement plan. The Air Force relieved nine officers, allowed the wing commander to retire and will discipline others as a result of the cheating incident.

Maj. Toni J. Whaley, a spokeswoman for Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James, said Friday that Wilcox is a career nuclear security force leader.

“He joins the 341st from the Global Strike Command staff, where he previously led our security forces division,” Whaley said.

She said Wilcox previously served as the interim security force group commander at Malmstrom, from August to November of this year. “He’s absolutely the right manager to move Team Malmstrom forward,” she said.

Missile launch officers from the 91st Missile Wing at Minot Air Force Base and from F.E. Warren AFB in Wyoming have been augmenting the Minuteman III ICBM mission at Malmstrom in past weeks and will continue to do so, Whaley said.

James said at the news conference that the Air Force nuclear deterrence mission is critical to national security and remains strong.