On May 1, a unit from Minot Air Force Base, N.D., lost a box containing 32 40mm high-explosive dual purpose grenade rounds for the MK 19 grenade launcher. A couple of weeks later, that same unit lost a 7.62mm M240 machine gun. The grenade ammo is still missing, but the service just revealed that the missing machine gun has been located.
Missing Machine Gun
According to a Minot AFB press release, agents from the Air Force Office of Special Investigations obtained a federal search warrant and found the missing M240 at an Airman’s home off-base. The release doesn’t have any additional information due to the fact that the investigation is ongoing.
The M240 was originally discovered missing during a standard weapons inventory check at Minot Air Force Base on May 16. The discovery resulted in the 5th Bomb Wing and 91st Missile Wing opening an investigation with the OSI.
Missing Grenade Launcher Ammo
As for the missing grenade launcher ammunition, Minot AFB said it fell out the back of a Humvee driven by a Security Forces team from the 91st Missile Wing. The vehicle was traveling between missile sites on rough terrain when the back hatch popped open. The metal ammo box then fell out.
As you can imagine, the Air Force would like its stuff back, so it spent a considerable amount of time and resources toward recovering the ammunition. They were unsuccessful in finding the ammo and ultimately called off the search. The service says the rounds are specific to the MK 19 grenade launcher and won’t work in any other launcher without “catastrophic failure.”
Relieved Of Command
The one-two punch of embarrassing incidents resulted in Col. Jason Beers, 91st Security Forces Group commander, being relieved of command on May 23, “due to a loss of trust and confidence after a series of events under the scope of his leadership, including a recent loss of ammunition and weapons,” a Minot AFB release stated.
Beers was subsequently assigned as the chief of the installations division under the Logistics directorate at the Air Force Special Operations Command headquarters at Hurlburt Field, Florida.
“We are fully confident in the Colonel’s ability to manage our Security Forces and Civil Engineer programs for the command,” Capt. Amanda Farr told Air Force Times in an email, adding that Beers would “support the readiness of our [security forces and civil engineer] personnel, as well as implementing Air Force policy that affects the division.”