Commander of Air Force’s 9th Bomb Squadron removed due to ‘loss of confidence’
Stars and Stripes September 20, 2023
A commander in the Air Force’s Global Strike Command, which is responsible for supporting nuclear deterrence and carrying out worldwide U.S. strike operations, has been removed from his position after only a few weeks in the job, officials said Wednesday.
Lt. Col. Brian Milner, who led the 9th Bomb Squadron, was relieved of command Monday, according to officials at Dyess Air Force Base in Texas.
Base officials did not elaborate on why Milner was dismissed but said he was “removed from his leadership position due to a loss of confidence in his ability to complete the assigned duties.”
Lt. Col. Ryan Stillwell assumed command as the permanent replacement, a base spokesperson said.
Stillwell was formerly director of operations for the 9th Bomb Squadron, which is assigned to the 7th Operations Group at Dyess. The squadron maintains the supersonic Rockwell B-1B Lancer heavy bomber.
Milner’s tenure as commander of the squadron did not last long. He took the job in July and was the 9th Bomb Squadron’s first Black commander.
“If becoming a commander inspires at least one person, whether or not they’re a minority, I have done something important,” Milner said July 13, not long after he took over the role. “Becoming a squadron commander … has become my greatest achievement.”
Due to federal privacy laws, military commanders are often removed under broad claims of “loss in confidence” in their abilities. In June, officials cited the phrase in relieving Navy Cmdr. Jeffrey Applebaugh and Army Col. Jonathan Chung from their duties. In August, Navy Capt. Paul Choate, commanding officer of the service’s Fleet Readiness Center Mid-Atlantic in Virginia, was dismissed for the same reason.
Air Force officials did not indicate whether there was any misconduct related to Milner’s removal.
Built during World War II, Dyess Air Force Base is a few miles from Abilene in north-central Texas and about 150 miles southwest of Fort Worth. About 13,000 personnel — troops and civilians — are stationed at the base.