An airman fires a M240 machine gun during weapons training at Beale Air Force Base, California, Dec. 20, 2017.

An airman fires a M240 machine gun during weapons training at Beale Air Force Base, California, Dec. 20, 2017. (Colville McFee/U.S. Air Force)

WASHINGTON — Air Force investigators recovered an M-240 machine gun missing from Minot Air Force base at an airman’s off-base residence, service officials announced.

Special agents with the service’s Office of Special Investigations found the machine gun while executing a federal search warrant, Minot officials said Wednesday in a statement. They declined to provide additional information, including the identity of the airman who was in possession of the firearm or any pending charges the airman could face, citing the ongoing investigation.

The M-240 is a nearly 30-pound, belt-fed, automatic machine gun that fires 7.62 mm rounds. The weapon was found to be missing from the Air Force base in North Dakota on May 16 during an inventory check of weapons belonging to the 91st Security Forces Group. It was the second case in less than a month in which the group lost weapons, which would lead to the removal of the group’s senior leaders.

On May 1, airmen with the 91st SFG lost a box of 40mm MK19 automatic grenade launcher ammunition off the back off a Humvee while traveling rural roads in North Dakota, Minot officials said. The service launched a large-scale search for the missing ammunition and offered a $5,000 reward for its return but it was never found, officials said. The incident was considered an accident.

On May 23, Col. Jason Beers, the group’s commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Nikki Drago, the unit’s superintendent, were fired due to a “loss of trust and confidence” in their leadership, the Air Force announced.

Beers, however, is slated to take a new job in the summer as the chief of the installations division at Air Force Special Operations Command Headquarters at Hurlburt Field in Florida, officials said. Twitter: @CDicksteinDC

author picture
Corey Dickstein covers the military in the U.S. southeast. He joined the Stars and Stripes staff in 2015 and covered the Pentagon for more than five years. He previously covered the military for the Savannah Morning News in Georgia. Dickstein holds a journalism degree from Georgia College & State University and has been recognized with several national and regional awards for his reporting and photography. He is based in Atlanta.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up