Air Force Missile Crews Disciplined
Aug 28 2008 8:03PM
Two officers in charge of classified launch materials for nuclear missiles stationed around Minot Air Force Base lied about destroying the materials and instead took them home.
And the Air Force has so far only been able to recover one of the two missing classified items since the July, 2005 incident.
An Air Force spokeswoman says the two officers signed documents saying they destroyed the bandage-sized launch components - as is normal procedure.
But she says the two actually took them home.
One was turned in, in May, when the officer admitted to the lie.
The other has not been recovered, but Air Force officials say it poses no security risk.
The equipment that should have been destroyed is used to detect tampering in the launch control facilities, which contain the equipment needed to launch the 150 Minuteman Three Missiles buried around Minot Air Force Base.
Both officers have been taken off their jobs of watching over nuclear missiles and the Air Force stresses there's no ongoing security risk.
Also today, Air Force officials say three members of a missile crew who fell asleep while in possession of expired missile launch control codes in July have been decertified from missile operations. The three, two lieutenants and a captain from the 91st Missile Wing, fell asleep in a secured crew rest area at the conclusion of a 24-hour shift. Six other people involved in the incident have had disciplinary letters placed in their personnel files.
Finally, the Air Force announced today that an inspection of the 5th Bomb Wing, conducted early this month, found the wing operating safely.
The inspection came as a followup to last year's incident where nuclear bombs were unknowingly flown from Minot Air Force Base to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.