Minot AFB Clandestine Nukes 'Oddities' By Lori Price, www.legitgov.org Updated: 08 May 2013
Air Force sidelines 17 nuclear officers, Minot unit suffering 'rot' from within 08 May 2013 The Air Force stripped an unprecedented 17 officers of their authority to control - and, if necessary, launch - nuclear missiles after a string of unpublicized failings, including a remarkably dim review of their unit's launch skills. The group's deputy commander said it is suffering "rot" within its ranks. "We are, in fact, in a crisis right now," the commander, Lt. Col. Jay Folds, wrote in an internal email obtained by The Associated Press and confirmed by the Air Force. The tip-off to trouble was a March inspection of the 91st Missile Wing at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., which earned the equivalent of a "D" grade when tested on its mastery of Minuteman III missile launch operations.
Minot Air Force Base airman killed in shooting 21 Dec 2010 Police said an airman from the Minot Air Force Base has been killed in an off-base shooting. Police Detective Matt McLeod told KCJB radio that Steven Crawford, 19, was shot with a handgun by a fellow airman at Crawford's apartment Monday night. Crawford was taken to a Minot hospital where he died. Police said the shooting appears to be accidental.
81st Civil Support Team Conducts Exercise at Minot Air Force Base 07 May 2010 North Dakota's 81st Civil Support Team dispatched personnel and equipment though blustery winds to Minot Air Force Base May 5, to practice air load operations onto a C-17 Globemaster sent from McChord Air Force Base, Wash. While the CST is configured to assist local incident commanders in events known or suspected to involve weapons of mass destruction, it also responds regionally to augment other states. CSTs are divided into six different sectors throughout the country in order to supplement partner states should a chemical, biological or radiological event [is made to] occur.
- - [13/May/2010:10:30:35 -0400] "GET /minot_afb_nukes_oddities.html
following section was compiled by 'The Pundit.'
1. All six
people listed below are from Minot Airforce base
Silly me, seeing more than there is to this story. I guess this is just another coincidence.
But no doubt now that there will be more coincidences in the near future because as I have stated before, you need about fourteen signatures to get an armed nuke onto a B-52, and they may have told their wives and friends.
Police say shooting of Minot Air Force Base airman appears to be 'accidental' 16 Aug 2011 Minot police say the shooting of a Minot airman in an apartment appears to be accidental. Twenty-three-year-old Jonathan Threatt was taken to a local hospital with a head injury after the shooting about 1:40 a.m. Monday and then flown to a Minneapolis hospital. His condition was not released. Police Detective Matt McLeod told the Minot Daily News that Threatt and four other airmen from Minot Air Force Base live in the apartment.
Minot AFB airman identified --The base Safety Office is 'investigating' the accident. 01 May 2010 Officials at Minot Air Force Base have identified the airman who died Thursday after being struck in the head by a training missile during routine training at the base. Senior Airman Richard Allan Gallelli Jr., 22, was a member of the 17th Munitions Squadron, said 2nd Lt. Kidron Farnell, deputy chief of Public Affairs at the Minot base. Gallelli had been in the Air Force for three years and three months.
Minot Air Force Base Airman Killed --Internal investigation underway 29 Apr 2010 The Minot Air Force Base says one of their Airmen was killed in a training exercise around midnight. In a press release officials say a male Airman from the 17th Munitions Squadron was struck in the head while at work, and died of injuries soon after. They are not releasing the name of the Airman. A spokeswoman from the Minot Air Force Base says cases like this are extremely rare and it has been at least ten years [?!?] since something like this has taken place. [*Math check.* See: Minot base crew commander found dead --Cause of death unclear 03 Feb 2009.]
Minot AFB prepares for biological and chemical attacks --Minot AFB completes 'Prairie Night 10-1' drill 12 Feb 2010 Minot Air Force Base has completed a 48-hour training exercise, dubbed Prairie Night 10-1, to ensure that members of its 5th Bomb Wing are prepared in the event of a biological or chemical attack if deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. The simulated attack began at 11:39 AM with the sound of mortars hitting. Airmen at the base climbed into their chemical gear as if the attack were real in an effort to build muscle memory for an attack in the field, making preparation for the attack second nature to them.
Prairie Knight Exercise 10-1 at Minot Air Force Base --Warbirds to participate in training scenarios that include donning of chemical gear in aftermath of airfield attack 10 Feb 2010 The 5th Bomb Wing launches a 48-hour exercise today to test the wing's capabilities in preparation for an August conventional operational readiness inspection. The two-day event, Prairie Knight 10-1, measures the wing's ability to survive and operate in a contingency environment and will include a launch of 24 B-52 combat sorties practicing to place bombs on target, said Col. Julian Tolbert, vice-wing commander at Minot Air Force Base.
Minot base crew commander found dead --Cause of death unclear 03 Feb 2009 (The Associated Press) The body of a missile combat crew commander from the Minot Air Force Base was found by police, and the cause of his death is under investigation, the Air Force says. A statement issued by the base Sunday said the body of Capt. Jonathan Bayless, 28, was found Friday night. Police did not give details but said it was in an area north of the city soccer complex, and they are awaiting autopsy results.
Minot Missile wing now in Global Strike Command 02 Dec 2009 The men and women of the 91st Missile Wing at Minot Air Force Base became part of Air Force Global Strike Command Tuesday. Global Strike Command is the Air Force's newest major command and will oversee all of its nuclear forces. The nuclear-capable assets the intercontinental ballistic missiles of Air Force Space Command come under Global Strike Command as of Tuesday.
New Minot AFB commanders vow perfection 29 Nov 2009 The sign over the main gate at Minot Air Force Base brags, ''Only the Best Come North.'' It's been a questionable claim over the past two years at the North Dakota base following a rash of nuclear-related mistakes that spurred no mushroom clouds but embarrassed the military and cost several officers their positions. The new base commander said the foul-ups - including a cross-country flight from Minot of a B-52 bomber mistakenly armed with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles - stemmed from lax attitudes in maintaining the arsenal there. ''We had a compliance problem,'' Col. Douglas Cox told The Associated Press in an interview last week at the base. [Yeah, like Cheney trying to strike Chicago with a 'missing' Minot nuke.]
Ousted Minot AFB commander Westa to retire 25 Nov 2009 Col. Joel Westa, the former 5th Bomb Wing commander fired Oct. 30, retired Monday rather than accept an assignment to Global Strike Command. Westa was chosen to turn around the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., after airmen from the wing mistakenly loaded six nuclear warheads aboard a B-52 two years ago. Maj. Gen. Floyd Carpenter, 8th Air Force commander, arrived unannounced to Minot and fired Westa after the wing failed its second nuclear inspection under Westaís command.
Minot missile, bomb wings to become part of Global Strike Command 15 Nov 2009 Members of the 91st Missile Wing at Minot Air Force Base will make history Dec. 1 when they become part of a new command Air Force Global Strike Command. The new command will oversee all of the Air Force's nuclear forces intercontinental ballistic missiles and bombers. The 5th Bomb Wing will become part of the new command on Feb. 1.
Inspections are top priority at base 04 Nov 2009 The new commander of the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot Air Force Base said his first priority is to make sure the wing is ready for inspections. Col. Douglas Cox began Monday as the top officer of the bomb wing. Cox replaced Col. Joel Westa, who, along with the commander of the base's 5th Operations Support Squadron, were relieved of duty... "Building that credibility is one of the biggest challenges that we are working on." [Yes, it would be easier to clean the Augean stables in a single day.] "We actually are inspected all the time so every day we're either inspecting ourselves or we're expecting inspectors to come from outside of Minot Air Force Base," Cox said.
New Wing Commander at Minot AFB 03 Nov 2009 There's a new wing commander at Minot Air Force base. [This happens about once a week.] Col. Douglas Cox is the new commander of the 5th bomb Wing. Col. Cox took over the wing after Col. Joel Westa was relieved of command on Friday. Westa was removed due to the Air Force losing confidence in his ability to command. Col. Cox says he is ready to lead the 5th bomb wing knowing that perfection is the standard.
Minot Air Force Base resident suffered "self-inflicted" gunshot wound 26 Oct 2009 (ND) A 21-year-old man was injured after he shot himself in the chest Monday morning, according to the Jamestown Police Department. Police said the man, a resident of Minot Air Force Base, suffered a "self-inflicted" gun shot wound in the upper left chest in the room he rented on the second floor of the Comfort Inn in Jamestown. Police were dispatched at 3:22 a.m., said Police Chief Dave Donegan.
Ousted Minot AFB commander won't retire 20 Oct 2009 Col. Christopher Ayres, the former 91st Missile Wing commander at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., who was fired on Oct. 14, will accept an assignment to Air Force Space Command headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base, Col., and not retire. The 24-year missile officer was fired after 20th Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Roger Burg "lost confidence in his ability to command." Burg also fired two maintenance commanders formerly under Ayresí command -- Col. Lyman Faith, 91st Maintenance Group commander, and Lt. Col. Andrew Healy, 91st Missile Maintenance Squadron commander. The firings followed the Oct. 9 release of an investigative report that blamed a "large insect" for an Aug. 31 crash involving a truck carrying rocket engine parts for intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Missile commander ousted at Minot Air Force Base 14 Oct 2009 The missile wing commander at North Dakota's Minot Air Force Base was relieved of his command Wednesday after a series of missteps at the unit, including two crashes of vehicles carrying missile parts in just more than a year. Col. Christopher Ayres' was not ousted for any misconduct or wrongdoing, but the Air Force said it had lost confidence in his ability to command the base's 91st Missile Wing given recent incidents.
'The investigation doesn't list what kind of bug it was.' Military says 'large insect' distracted Minot AFB missile driver --Shipment also contained two 14-gallon tanks of liquid rocket fuel 09 Oct 2009 A truck driver who lost control of a semi-trailer carrying missile parts from North Dakota's Minot Air Force Base was distracted by a "large insect" that flew in a window and landed on the driver's back, the military said in a report released Friday. The Air Force said the truck from the base's 91st Missile Wing, which overturned Aug. 31 on a gravel road in northwest North Dakota, was carrying rocket engine parts for intercontinental ballistic missiles but no nuclear material. It was the second crash of a base vehicle in just more than a year. The Air Force spent about $5.6 million last year to recover an unarmed booster rocket for an intercontinental ballistic missile after the truck carrying it overturned in July 2008.
Minot AFB Activates B52 Squadron 03 Sep 2009 This will make the most powerful base in the world, stronger. That's how the commander of a new squadron of B-52 bombers describes Minot Air Force Base. Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth Notari made the comments today as he assumed command of the newly-reactivated 69th Bomb Squadron at Minot's base. The addition of the 69th gives Minot Air Force Base two active B-52 squadrons. The commander of the 8th Air Force says having four B-52 squadrons - two in Minot and two at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana - gives him more flexibility in carrying out the bombers' mission. And it will keep the bomber active for decades.
Semi-trailer carrying Minot AFB missile parts overturns in ND --The oveturned semi-trailer carried rocket engine parts for intercontinental ballistic missiles and two 14-gallon tanks of liquid rocket fuel. --It was the second crash of an Air Force vehicle from the Minot AFB in a year. 01 Sep 2009 Military officials said Tuesday a semi-trailer carrying intercontinental ballistic missile parts from the Minot Air Force Base overturned, and it could take a week to clear the site in north central North Dakota. Air Force spokeswoman Laurie A. Arellano said the semi-trailer overturned Monday afternoon on a gravel road. The cause of the crash is under investigation, she said.
I feel so much safer already: 69th Bomb Squadron Soon Activated 29 Aug 2009 After months of anticipation and preparation, the Minot Air Force Base is ready to officially activate its newly formed 69th Bomb Squadron. The new unit will be the fourth operational B-52 squadron in the Air Force. The Minot base is home to the 23rd Bomb Squadron and Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana has two operational B-52 units.
Malmstrom nuclear weapons squadron activated 05 Aug 2009 A new squadron designed to streamline and improve the handling of nuclear weapons systems was activated Tuesday at Malmstrom Air Force Base, bringing 62 new personnel with it, according to Air Force officials. The newly activated 16th Munitions Squadron will be responsible for weapons storage area logistics operations. The tenant unit at Malmstrom is part of the 798th Munitions Maintenance Group at Minot Air Force Base, N.D.
Hold on to your hats! Report: Major growth ahead for Minot AFB 30 Jun 2009 Hundreds of new positions will be added at Minot Air Force Base in the next fiscal year, according to an Air Force report... The report calls for the addition of several dozen military and civilian personnel at the Minot base as a result of bolstering the Air Force's nuclear enterprise. As a result of strengthening the Air Force's nuclear enterprise, the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot AFB gains 10 B-52H bombers as part of B-52 force structure, according to the report. [More to 'lose.']
Minot Base Commander Says Bomb Wing Back on Track 27 May 2009 The bomb wing commander at the Minot Air Force Base says the wing "performed magnificently" in a surprise Air Force inspection just completed. Col. Joel Westa was assigned the base after a mistaken cross-country flight of nuclear warheads to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana in 2007. One of his missions was to restore the reputation of the Minot base and its 5th Bomb Wing.
Nuclear Surety Inspection begins at Minot AFB 14 May 2009 A Nuclear Surety Inspection was initiated Wednesday at Minot Air Force Base. The inspection team is led by a senior officer representative from the Air Combat Command Inspector General's office with oversight provided by representatives from the Air Force Inspection Agency and the office of the Secretary of the Air Force. This no-notice inspection is expected to conclude May 22.
Minot Air Force Base Simulates Nuclear Missile Launch 05 May 2009 Minot Air Force Base came within seconds of launching an intercontinental ballistic missile this morning. But it wasn't an emergency - it was a test of the 91st Missile Wing's ability to respond to an order from the President to launch a nuclear-tipped missile. A Minuteman Three missile from Minot's aresnal will be shipped to Vandenberg Air Force Base in California next month for an actual launch to test the equipment and people from the local base.
Cause unclear in death of Minot crew commander 05 Feb 2009 Minot police say they have found no sign of a crime in the death of a Minot Air Force Base missile crew commander, but area waiting more test results. The body of Capt. Jonathan Bayless was found late Friday in a field north of Minot. Police Capt. Al Hanson said an autopsy was performed Monday in Bismarck.
Minot base crew commander found dead --Cause of death unclear 02 Feb 2009 The body of a missile combat crew commander from the Minot Air Force Base was found by police, and the cause of his death is under investigation, the Air Force says. A statement issued by the base Sunday said the body of Capt. Jonathan Bayless, 28, was found Friday night. Police did not give details and they are awaiting autopsy results. Col. Christopher Ayres, the baseís 91st Missile Wing commander, said Bayless was a training chief with the 91st Operations Support Squadron.
Minot AFB finalist for Global Strike Command 22 Jan 2009 North Dakota's congressional delegation says Minot Air Force Base is one of six finalists to be the home of the Air Force's new Global Strike Command. The military created the command to better manage the nation's nuclear arsenal. It comes after a series of embarrassing missteps, including the flight of a B-52 bomber that was mistakenly armed with six nuclear-tipped cruise missiles and flown from Minot Air Force Base to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana in August 2007.
Team to visit Minot AFB to plan for new B-52 squadron 10 Jan 2009 With Minot Air Force Base as the preferred site for a second squadron of B-52 bombers, a team will visit the base early next month to help plan for the new unit. Early last year, officials announced that a second squadron of B-52s was planned for the Minot base.
Minot launch component device 'remains missing' --Minot AFB officer to face court-martial 10 Dec 2008 A Minot Air Force Base officer accused of stealing a missile launch control device will face a court-martial, the military said. Capt. Paul Borowiecki, who was a missile combat crew member assigned to the baseís 91st Missile Wing, is accused of taking the launch control device in July 2005, rather than destroying it as required when it was no longer in use. The Air Force also said Borowiecki told officials that another officer had lied in saying he destroyed a launch component. That device remains missing. That other officer, whose name has not been released, has not been charged.
Military brass to visit Minot base 30 Nov 2008 Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and General Norton Schwartz, the Air Force chief of staff, are scheduled to visit the Minot Air Force Base on Monday. Schwartz was appointed by President [sic] Bush this summer during leadership changes following the mishandling of nuclear weapons and equipment by the Air Force, including at Minot.
Plans solidify for new B-52 squadron at Minot 21 Nov 2008 The Air Force confirmed it wants to locate its fifth B-52H Stratofortress squadron at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., Air Combat Command officials announced Friday. The target date for standing up the unit is late 2009 or early 2010. North Dakotaís congressional delegation, briefed on the plan prior to Fridayís announcement, said the squadron would have 10 planes, raising the number of combat-ready B-52Hs at Minot to 22.
AF mum on result of no-notice nuke inspection 20 Nov 2008 The 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., completed its first no-notice nuclear surety inspection Nov. 17, but Air Force officials would not say if the wing passed. It is the first no-notice inspection the wing has completed since Strategic Air Command was disbanded, according to Air Combat Command officials. In August 2007, Barksdale airmen discovered a B-52 on their runway that had flown from Minot Air Force Base, N.D., mistakenly [!] loaded with six nuclear-tipped cruise missiles -- the first of two incidents that led to a period of heavily scrutiny of the Air Forceís nuclear enterprise.
Air Force: $5.6M to take rocket booster from ditch 03 Oct 2008 The Air Force says it spent about $5.6 million in its efforts to recover an unarmed booster rocket for an intercontinental ballistic missile from a North Dakota ditch. An Air Force truck carrying the booster for a Minuteman III overturned July 31 a few miles east of Parshall in northwest North Dakota. An Air Force statement blames "driver and safety observer error" for the accident. The truck was traveling from Minot Air Force Base to a launch facility when it crashed on the gravel road.
Air Force says officer stole launch control device 29 Sep 2008 A Minot Air Force Base officer accused of stealing a classified missile launch control device faces a hearing to determine whether he will face a court martial. The Air Force said a hearing is scheduled Tuesday at the base to evaluate evidence against Capt. Paul Borowiecki, a missile combat crew member assigned to the 91st Missile Wing.
Changes coming on nuclear training, inspection --Inspectors found several deficiencies in the nuclear security provided at the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., during a Nuclear Surety Inspection the base failed last year. 20 Sep 2008 Air Force leaders announced changes to the organization, training practices and inspection process of its nuclear enterprise following the serviceís Nuclear Summit held on Sept. 18 at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, D.C. Officials reviewed the recommendations made by the Task Force on Nuclear Weapons Management on Sept. 12 in a report that ripped the Air Forceís current nuclear structure proposing the service realign all of its nuclear missions under Air Force Space Command and rename it Air Force Strategic Command.
Advisers: Consolidate Air Force nuke command 12 Sep 2008 The Task Force on Nuclear Weapons Management recommended the Air Force put all its nuclear missions under Air Force Space Command and call the whole thing Air Force Strategic Command. Defense Secretary Robert Gates organized the task force -- which was headed by former Defense Secretary James Schlesinger -- after axing the Air Forceís top two leaders last June due to its nuclear problems. The recommendations Schlesinger announced Friday at the Pentagon also would mean that Air Combat Command would lose its nuclear bomber mission.
Air Force officers sanctioned after sleeping on nuke job 29 Aug 2008 Three ballistic missile crew members have been punished for sleeping during a sensitive task, the Air Force reported Thursday. Two first lieutenants and a captain fell asleep on July 12 while in control of a classified electronic part that contained old launch codes for intercontinental nuclear missiles. It happened during the changing out of electronic parts used to communicate with Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota. Two officers are under investigation for lying about destroying classified missile components, and another for alleged sexual misconduct, the military reported.
Air Force Searches For Lost Launch Devices --Three Crew Members Removed Over Allegations of Sex Abuse and Equipment Tampering 28 Aug 2008 The Air Force says at least three ballistic missile crew members at bases in North Dakota and Montana have been taken off the job while the military investigates allegations ranging from sexual abuse to missing classified components used in underground launch control centers. The Air Force announced Thursday that an officer who earlier worked at Minot Air Force Base's 91st Space Wing notified the military in May that he and another officer had lied about destroying classified launch components in July 2005. "They were supposed to destroy them and they signed documents saying they destroyed them," said Maj. Laurie A. Arellano, an Air Force spokeswoman. Instead, she said, "they took them home." In May, one of the officers notified the Air Force of the incident and "turned his launch components over to the government." Arellano said the devices are used on equipment inside the launch control center to detect equipment tampering. One of the devices remains missing. "We only know of the whereabouts of one for sure," Arellano said.
Navy relieves commander of air recon squadron 13 Aug 2008 The commander of a Navy air reconnaissance squadron that provides the president and the defense secretary the airborne ability to command the nation's nuclear weapons has been relieved of duty, the Navy said Tuesday. Cmdr. Shawn Bentley was relieved of duty Monday by the Navy for loss of confidence in his ability to command, only three months after taking the job. Capt. Brian Costello, commander of the Navy's Strategic Communications Wing One, removed Bentley from command, said Lt. Cmdr. Charlie Brown, a spokesman for the Naval Air Forces. The primary duty of the squadron, nicknamed the "Ironman," is to provide communication with ballistic missile submarines, Brown said. It is also one of three squadrons that provides airborne communications for the president and defense secretary to command and control the nation's nuclear submarines, bombers and missile silos, according to the Wing's official Web site.
U.S. fires captain of Japan-bound nuclear warship 31 Jul 2008 The U.S. Navy said it had replaced the captain of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier scheduled for a controversial berth in Japan after blaming him for a fire on board on the warship [?]. The United States has been trying to allay fears over the planned stationing of the George Washington in Japan, the only country to have suffered nuclear attacks. Doubts about the ship's safety were renewed when a fire broke out on board in May... U.S. Naval Air Forces said in a statement it had fired commanding officer David C. Dykhoff and another officer over the incident and installed Captain J.R. Haley as the ship's new commander.
Air Force brigadier general dies of gunshot wound
28 Jul 2008 An Air Force brigadier general died of a gunshot wound that
US missile alert crew falls asleep on the job 25 Jul 2008 It was 9.30 in the evening. The crew of three air force members decided to rest a little and within 15 minutes they were fast asleep. They awoke several hours later. The only problem was that the room in which they were snoozing was the missile alert facility at Minot air force base in North Dakota. Directly beneath them was the underground control centre containing the keys that can launch ballistic missiles, and in their care were metal boxes containing the secret codes that allow the nuclear button to be pressed. The incident is the latest in a series of foul-ups and poor ratings for the Minot air force base. Last summer a B-52 bomber was loaded with six air-launched nuclear missiles and flown, unbeknownst to its pilots or crew, across America. [All three men fell asleep--at 9:30 PM--and slept *for hours?*]
Air Force says officers fell asleep with nuke code --July 12 incident was at Minot AFB, location of other incidents 24 Jul 2008 Three Air Force officers fell asleep [!] while in control of an electronic component that contained old launch codes for nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles, a violation of procedure, Air Force officials said Thursday. It is the fourth incident in the past year involving problems with secure handling of components of America's nuclear weapons. The incident occurred July 12, during the changing out of components used to facilitate secure communications between an underground missile-control facility and missile silos near Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, according to Col. Dewey Ford, a spokesman for the Air Force Space Command in Colorado.
Air Force declares lost B-52 crew dead 24 Jul 2008 In a solemn statement early Wednesday, 2nd Bomb Wing Commander Col. Robert Wheeler bore bitter news of tragedy to Barksdale Air Force Base and the surrounding community. The Air Force and Coast Guard have given up hope any of the six crew members of a Barksdale B-52 that crashed Sunday north of Guam are alive. Five of the lost airmen were assigned to the 2nd Bomb Wing. The only other base in the world at which B-52s are permanently assigned is Minot Air Force Base, N.D. Its 5th Wing has been peppered for years with 2nd Bomb Wing personnel, and vice-versa, and it has not been unusual over the years for a commander or a vice commander to move from the 5th Wing to the 2nd Bomb Wing.
Air Force Finds Lax Nuclear Security 02 Jul 2008 Most overseas storage sites for U.S. nuclear weapons, particularly in Europe, need substantial improvements in physical security measures and the personnel who guard the weapons, according to a newly available Air Force report. The Blue Ribbon review of nuclear security was conducted after it was discovered that a B-52 bomber had flown across the United States, from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, with neither the pilots nor ground crews aware that six cruise missiles under one wing held real nuclear warheads.
Moseley: We Need a Failsafe to Human Error --A day after Defense Secretary Robert Gates asked for and received his resignation June 5, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley gave this exclusive interview to [Defense News] Vago Muradian. 09 Jun 2008 Q. And that was where the problems occurred? Following the Minot incident, I would say more than 95 percent of my focus has been about getting this right, and we had a commander-directed inquiry. I commissioned Maj. Gen. [Polly] Peyer to conduct a blue ribbon review, which gave us 120 or so specific things to address. My fundamental tasking to her was, "Is there something bigger here? Is this just an isolated case of a human frailty or are there systemic bigger issues that we have to find and fix?" Q. So this was right after the Minot incident? A. I started it right after. The secretary went out there and General Welch did an overall study. So those 120, I believe, is a start at getting at where general officers should be. What is the echelon of responsibility?
Gates recommends Schwartz as next Air Force chief --Gates asks Bush to Allow Donley to Start as Air Force Secretary Without Senate Confirmation 09 Jun 2008 Defense Secretary Robert Gates recommended Monday that Gen. Norton Schwartz, a 35-year veteran with a background in Air Force special operations, be the next Air Force chief. In a sweeping shake up of the Air Force, Gates also formally sent former Air Force official Michael Donley's name to the White House to be the next secretary of the beleaguered service. Gates announced last Thursday that he was removing Air Force Gen. Michael Moseley from the chief's job and Michael Wynne as its top civilian. Gates asked Bush to designate Donley as the acting secretary effective June 21 -- a move that would allow him to begin work without waiting for Senate confirmation.
Gates seeks Air Force leadership on handling of nuclear weapons 09 Jun 2008 In his search for new leadership atop the Air Force, Defense Secretary Robert Gates is looking for a "new perspective" that will fix long-standing problems in the handling of nuclear weapons... Gates said at the time that his decision was based mainly on the damning conclusions of an internal report on the mistaken shipment to Taiwan of four Air Force fusing devices for ballistic missile nuclear warheads. And he linked the underlying causes of that slip-up to another startling incident: the North Dakota-to-Louisiana flight last August of a B-52 bomber that was mistakenly armed with six nuclear-tipped cruise missiles.
Minot Base Officials Say Airman Dies While On Leave 12 Sep 2007 The Minot Air Force Base said an airman has died while on leave in Virginia. Airman First Class Todd Blue, who was 20 years old, died Monday while visiting with family members. The statement did not say how he died. The base said Blue was a response force member assigned to the 5th Security Forces Squadron. [The primary mission of the 5th Security Forces Squadron is to 'provide 24-hour law enforcement and security services for the 5th Bomb Wing and all tenant units assigned to Minot AFB.' "Guardians of the Upper Realm" --The host wing on Minot Air Force Base, the 5th Bomb Wing operates the B-52H Stratofortress aircraft to provide global strike and combat-support capabilities to geographic commanders. B-52 Stratofortress - Mission --Air Combat Command's B-52 is a long-range, heavy bomber that can perform a variety of missions... It can carry nuclear or precision guided conventional ordnance with worldwide precision navigation capability.]
AF Secretary Visits MAFB 14 Sep 2007 The top civilian in the Air Force spent the afternoon at Minot Air Force Base today. Michael Wynne, the Secretary of the Air Force, arrived at the base about 1 PM to get a personal look at how nuclear weapons are stored, protected, and handled. His visit comes two weeks after a B-52 bomber loaded with six nuclear warheads was flown from Minot to Barksdale Air Force Base.
Staging Nukes for Iran? By Larry Johnson 05 Sep 2007 My buddy... reminded me that the only times you put weapons on a plane is when they are on alert or if you are tasked to move the weapons to a specific site... Barksdale Air Force Base is being used as a jumping off point for Middle East operations... Why would we want to preposition nuclear weapons at a base conducting Middle East operations? His final point was to observe that someone on the inside obviously leaked the info that the planes were carrying nukes. A B-52 landing at Barksdale is a non-event. A B-52 landing with nukes. That is something else. Now maybe there is an innocent explanation for this? I canít think of one. What is certain is that the pilots of this plane did not just make a last minute decision to strap on some nukes and take them for a joy ride... Did someone at Barksdale try to indirectly warn the American people that the Bush Administration is staging nukes for Iran?
Minot AFB is a dead-end base. Itís the abyss of the Air Force, the saying goes ďWhy not Minot?Ē They have major retainability problems there Ė people volunteer to go to Iraq, Korea, anywhere just to get out of there. Beside its location (middle-of-nowhere North Dakota), the base has very little real mission and spins its wheels forever in drills that all result in the end of the world since itís a nuke base designed to fight the Cold War. But, there is no Cold War for them to fight (at least not one that Minotís golden piece of real estate would be useful in fighting), so its people probably feel pretty worthless and tired of fighting the now non-existent Soviet Union. The base has already been re-aligned (more on that in a moment) and itís probably going to be BRACed into a regional airport in a few decades. Ellison AFB in South Dakota has already had its closure decided.
One of the biggest problems with killing off Minot is its core mission Ė all of the nukes it has. Its weapons capability is moving to Barksdale AFB in Louisiana as the AF further consolidates after the Cold War and infrastructure budget cuts because of Iraq et al. Moving weapons capability to Barksdale, in real world terms, means moving the actual missiles that would deliver the nuclear warhead to Barksdale. No big deal, conventional weapons move all the time. Nuclear warheads, however, when transported for these reasons, are moved by the Department of Energy Ė a very time consuming, expensive, and burdensome process that someone else will have to figure out much later once they finally decide to close the base.
So, the Air Forceís solution is to move the missiles, and leave the warheads behind, to be dealt with one day when all of us are retired and don't have to worry about it. Thatís what SHOULD have happened. So the mission itself was pretty normal otherwise. (It may actually be intentional to leave things this way, to prevent Congressional involvement, as whatever Senator is from ND is probably desperate to keep Minot around as long as possible; leaving the nukes, but operationally stripping the base serves both sides purposes).
The mistake, and the reason everyone now knows about this, is that the warheads werenít removed from the missiles being moved to Barksdale. I bet the guys on the ground in Barksdale were sure as shit surprised when they cracked the payload open and saw a warhead. ;)
I know as much as I do because I work with a cross-trainee whose last base was Barksdale as a munitions specialist. He was involved in this process there; along with the various other missions Barksdale has (itís a pretty critical base in the AF). Anyway, you would think there would be a pretty clear checklist for all of this, but apparently no one even bothered. Doing what they do day-to-day, is pretty standard operating procedure. People get lazy when they do the same thing day after day, and thereís no less than a half dozen teams who would be transferring these weapons around from storage until theyíre loaded. The idea of someone dropping the ball in the AF is not exactly unusual (quite common, actually, heh), especially when 4:30 rolls around and everyone wants to go home. If the next step is to hand it off to the guys who remove the warhead, and itís 1630 on a Friday, hell, letís just leave it until Monday, since the mission doesnít fly until Tuesday anyway. Monday rolls around, someone else takes over, and doesnít know the job wasnít finished on Friday. There SHOULD be some paper trail for that kind of thing, but then, like I said, people are lazy. Oh, and Minot usually fails its nuclear operational readiness inspections. ;) Sorry to kill your confidence in the military.
Iíve seen too much crazy stuff to believe in some massive conspiracy, thereís too many people involved. Youíd have to kill like 50 people to ďcover upĒ moving nukes to Barksdale. Plus, what would it achieve? Thereís already more than enough nukes at Barksdale to blow the world up 3x over. Who needs 6 more? Seriously? Plus, more accidents occur with conventional than nukes, since nukes are computerized and designed to be super-duper safe. Conventional weapons are built by the lowest bidder. [Yikes!] Iíd be more worried about a fully-loaded F16 flying around NYC after 9/11 sucking up a bird than a B52 with nukes flying around without anyone knowing it was loaded with nukes. The pilots couldnít "secretly" be in on it and launch them, the interface wouldnít be installed, the COMSEC material wouldnít be available, etc. Youíd have to kill half the base to hide the paper trail necessary to give the pilots the ability to launch.
Several people dying from Minot is bad, of course, but then, crazy stuff happens. Motorcycle accidents, mind you, are the #1 non-war cause of dead in the Air Force. The Captain who died wasnít a pilot (he was Combat Weather, as evidenced by his pewter beret in the photo linked from your site). Captains are a dime a dozen, just like the Security Forces troop who died. Yes, a part of the Security Forces Squadron mission there would be do defend the nukes, but heís not at all involved in any of the process. He stands outside the door and checks IDs. Seriously, thatís it. I have 5 cops (as they're generally called in the Air Force) I deal with every day where I work because I do computer stuff, and they have zero clue whatís happening behind the door. They spend most of the day on the phone chit chatting with friends at other security posts about the latest dorm gossip about who slept with whom.
So, to conclude, just chill out a bit about the conspiracy, itís kinda silly. Plus, again, what would be the point? Itís not a big deal to authorize a nuke mission. After 9/11 the entire Barksdale arsenal was loaded and on the flightline ready to fly. I wouldnít sweat 6 who someone forgot to unload.
Feel free to republish, maybe it'll educate a few people.
Iím NOT anonymous, and I take issue with the anonymous "ssgt" statements.
Iím a cold war vet from the US Navy, one who worked as part of an operation designed to exhaust and bankrupt the Soviet military, by constantly testing their limitations. This SSgt is a defacto shill for a propaganda machine.
Bullsheep. Plain and simple. IF this "SSgt" was actually just debunking a load of Steaming Holstein, none of his command would have much issue with any of his statements, especially publicly available facts such as retention rates and base activities that are noted on google.com, mil.gov, wikipedia, and many other websites worldwide. There is no need to be anonymous when youíre not releasing classified data, is there? Saying "there is not a plot" is not contrary to secure data, even if there is not a plot.
6 people dying within days of a world-record nuclear screw-up is decidedly newsworthy, and suspicious, in itself. The rate of fatalities in the military isnít that high even in war zones.
The "Decider" has already stated that he believes the USA has the right to bomb Iran, and that he will not certify that heíd refuse to use nukes. "No option is off the table" as he is fond of saying. I think thatís pretty damn clear, being as it is coming from the Commander In Chief.
The military reporting of these incidents is itself contrary to military secrecy, reason, and law. I suspect an altogether different agenda. I believe that this high-level press coverage of a screw up, carrying nukes on B52s, is designed to use the US Media [gasp, theyíve never done that before!] to pressure Iran to meet US demands.
The US military would never release to the public any real classified data, especially including data about moved or missing nukes, without authority from the White House.
The US media is NOT entitled to print or distribute classified information, and is NEVER brought-in as it was in this case, so rapidly or on such an elemental and critical faux paus.
The only logical excuse for the sudden and detail-filled news coverage of this event is that of an intentional release of data for political purposes.
Declaring that the US Military is lying in the media isnít illegal provided that one does not expose any actual events or secrets, or violate the UCMJ by disobeying a direct order. All soldiers still have their civil rights. These rights are merely waived as needed for valid military purposes, as it is the job of a soldier to take abnormal risks and bear state secrets.
If it was really a secret, the anonymous sergeant would now be a traitor to the USA, just by talking about it. Thus, the implication that the letter is legit, is ALSO an implication that the letter is NOT legit. There is no need to be anonymous if itís not a secret. QED. This is an example of a circular argument.
Thus, "I" am not violating any UCMJ or Federal laws by stating that itís bunk. You canít cite me for a double negative: Iím stating that what doesnít exist, doesnít not exist. We call that the First Amendment, and whether Dumbya likes it or not, itís still in force. Iím saying that there is no pink elephant.
The missiles were moved, without any doubts, intentionally; OR The missiles were never moved and the press coverage is based on propaganda to scare Iran; OR the missiles were moved and the press coverage is based on propaganda to scare Iran. You canít prove or disprove what the US military has done without EXTERNAL data. Theyíll say whatever they want to suit themselves.
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