There are a number of theories which attempt to explain the firing of Captain Heather E. Cole, who was stationed at Tinker Air Force Base, in Oklahoma.
The official story states that she was fired for “loss of confidence” in her ability to lead, in her role as Commander of Strategic Communications Wing 1. The Navy Times reports that, Vice Admiral Mike Shoemaker relieved her of command of this unit, which reports directly to U.S. Strategic Command. The investigation that lead to her firing was said to date back from February, according to AIRFOR spokeperson, Jeannie Groeneveld.
“The relief was due to deficiencies in her performance that were identified in the findings of the investigation,” Groeneveld said. The deficiencies had nothing to do with TF-124’s Strategic Nuclear Forces mission, she said, but instead were “cultural issues” within the wing itself.
Since this time, on or about March 17th, Captain Cole has been re-assigned to the San Diego based staff of AIRFOR pending the outcome of the official investigation. There is no evidence of her ever having had been arrested and jailed, as some media outlets have claimed. It is however, not uncommon for an officer that is relieved of command, to be placed under temporary arrest or escorted off the immediate grounds, pending an official procedure.
This story appeared on FOX news, and a few other mainstream outlets. It’s worth noting that ABC News also carried the story, but the web link to this story has since been redirected to ABC’s home page. A search of the website suggests that the story has been removed from the ABC news archive (Unconfirmed).
The Captain’s firing occurred just hours after Ham Radio techs reported hearing about air “skirmishes” in the Arctic, between American and Russian Forces, which were both conducting training at that time.
It didn’t take long, before the story became: “Commander Under Arrest For Refusing To Fire Nukes At Russia.”
The source was stated to be a report that was “circulating in the Kremlin” that was “prepared by the Foreign Intelligence Service for the Ministry of Defense.”
No link to this report, or any mention of how it was obtained, was ever provided in the article that started it all. Nevertheless, other independent outlets (most tabloid in nature), repeated the story, while adding their own little bits and pieces along the way. New sources eventually evolved, but they were just links to more articles that also contained no valid sources. Twitter and Youtube repeated the same stories.
All that we really know is that a female Navy Commander was fired. It doesn’t appear that she had any authority whatsoever, with regard to launching nuclear weapons.
There were some very unusual events, unprecedented military drills, taking place. The “skirmishes” or dog fights appeared to occur, just hours before she was relieved of duty. These events however, were unconfirmed. A more likely explanation would be that this was a drill. Captain Cole could have been relieved for any number of reasons, which may include performance that was below expectations during this drill.
Still, I am not saying that the reports were all hype or lies. A nuclear war is a scary thing to think about. It is safe to say that, after nearly a month, no nukes were fired, and evidence into the existence of a report, “circulating the Kremlin”, has so far not been provided.
We also have to keep in mind that, had President Obama actually given the order to perform a nuclear strike against Russia, no single Captain in the Air Force would have “Saved the day”.
Had Cole actually had this type of authority (Which it doesn’t appear that she did), and the order were actually given to strike, she would have performed her duties. Had she not done so, then she would have immediately been confined, relieved of command, and replaced by somebody else who would be willing to carry out those orders. In either case, the nuclear strike would have still taken place, whether or not she chose to follow orders.
Still, there is still a lot of speculation into her firing, and until more evidence is introduced into this event, then it will only remain just that…speculation. I do find it strange that the ABC article on her firing was removed, but FOX and a couple of other mainstream media sources still have the official story, available online.
There is no doubt that the general public is often not told everything. There is too much that our government simply doesn’t want us to know. But we must keep a cool head, and not proceed to conclusions when there aren’t enough facts available to justify a reasonable theory.
My parents always taught me not to believe everything I heard, that is especially true at a time like today, when information is so readily available via the Internet. I also remember a time in school, when all of the kids were lined up, single file. A message was then given to the first person in line, and we began to pass that message down the line. By the time the message reached the last person in line, it contained nothing even remotely related to the original message. I think that is pretty much what happened to the story of Captain Heather Cole, and the Nuclear Button.
This does not mean however, that we should stop listening to others. What I am saying, is that we should use discretion, and a little common sense, before crying “Fire!”
Hopefully someday we’ll get the truth about why Captain Heather E. Cole was relieved of her command. Until then, there is plenty more going on in the world that we should be concerned about. Let’s remain calm, and focus our efforts on logic, as opposed to fear.
Chance will favor the prepared mind, but panic has rarely gotten anybody…anywhere.