Downfall of Vice-Admiral Timothy Giardina is latest embarrassment for America’s missile men, amid low morale and a string of public scandals
By day, Vice-Admiral Timothy Giardina was one of the US Navy’s most senior figures – as deputy head of US Strategic Command, he was number two in command of America’s nuclear arsenal.
But by night, at the Horseshoe casino in Council Bluffs, Iowa, he was known as Navy Tim, a heavy gambler who was accused of making his own $500 poker chips and eventually banned.
Documents unveiled under a Freedom of Information Act request depict him as an habitual poker player, spending more than 1,000 hours – or 15 hours per week – at the Horseshoe’s tables in the 18 months before being caught playing three phoney chips in June 2013.
The purge continues while America continues to turn a blind eye.
The Air Force on Monday fired two more nuclear commanders and disciplined a third, fresh evidence of leadership lapses in a nuclear missile corps that has suffered a rash of recent setbacks, including the firing last year of its top commander.
The most senior officer to be relieved Monday was Col. Carl Jones, the No. 2 commander of the 90th Missile Wing at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming, in charge of 150 of the Air Force’s 450 Minuteman 3 nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles. He was dismissed “for a loss of trust and confidence in his leadership abilities,” and has been reassigned as a special assistant to the wing commander.
The actions Monday were confirmed to The Associated Press in response to an AP inquiry about an internal Air Force investigation of two commanders at the 91st Missile Wing at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, which also is responsible for 150 Minuteman 3 missiles.
It is unusual for disciplinary action to be taken against senior officers at two of the Air Force’s three nuclear missile bases on the same day. Officials said the timing was a coincidence. It extends a pattern of leadership failures in the ICBM force over the past year. Continue reading