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“A Nuke? Yeah, So What?” September 6, 2007

Posted by gregquill in Uncategorized.

We’ve all heard about the Air Force mishandling of six nuclear weapons. They were inadvertently loaded onto a B-52 and flown from Minot SD to Barksdale, LA.

There are many, many required steps to moving nuclear weapons, including weapon inspection, verification, and accountability documentation at the bunker, at the airplane, upon landing, when transfering from the airplane to the ground crew, and at the receiving bunker. Air Force, Army, Navy – we’re all trained to follow exactly the same procedures when handling nuclear weapons. At least five formal inspections and transfers of custody. Apparently, only one was made on August 30th.

Why didn’t the aircrew preflight the B-52? You know, walk around, kick the tires, LOOK at the air launched MISSILES? Yes, nukes are painted different. Why didn’t they look out the WINDOWS?!

My knowledge and experience is enough to know that the weapons will not cause a nuclear detonation if they fall off the plane, or if the plane crashes. My concern is the casualness of this episode. There are plenty of terrorists who would give the eye teeth of their burka-covered wife or, more importantly, their Sunday go-to-jihad special camel to get a U.S. nuclear weapon.

The air crew didn’t know they had nuclear weapons on board, or they would have turned back. The ground crew didn’t find it funny that they were loading nuclear weapons without the customary guards, patrols, check sheets and shave-tail lieutenants shrilly screaming and nervously raising everyone’s blood pressure. If some sheikh had walked out on the tarmac, traded his turbin for a helmet and climbed into the pilot’s seat, no one would have raised an eyebrow.

Now the Air Force reassures us that the weapons were always under Air Force control, there was no danger, and they are going to do their investigation thing and then go to lunch.

Well, since the nuclear weapons left Minot and flew to Barksdale without authorization, they were NOT under Air Force control. They were in the custody of people wearing Air Force uniforms, and that ain’t the same thing. Therefore, there WAS a danger of loss, damage or destruction of nuclear weapons. The Air Force should not be permitted to run its own investigation. They have already established their level of competence, and credibility, in this area. And as far as lunch goes, they can get it in the Leavenworth prison mess line on a regular schedule as they serve their sentences.

The entire U.S. Air Force should be decertified from handling, using, maintaining or guarding nuclear weapons, now. Bring in qualified, certified nuclear weapons people from the Navy, the Army and other government (not contractor) organizations to take over USAF weapons. Everyone from the Secretary of the Air Force on down to the airmen who handle the weapons must take and pass a detailed examination on nuclear weapons procedures including security, acceptance inspections, training requirements, custody and reporting, emergency procedures, the two man rule, etc., within a week. Those who fail cannot rejoin the program. In my opinion, the casual attitude was condoned by the Secretariat down the nuclear weapons chain of command to the one-star general and bird colonel level, so all of them gotta go.

Those in Minot who perpetrated this fiasco must be prosecuted, and jailed. This is not a “mistake”, but dereliction of duty.

After the Air Force rebuilds and retrains, individual units can undergo nuclear weapons training and weapons acceptance inspections, rebuild their personnel systems and become certified again.

This will take years.



1. Brenda - September 6, 2007

so if a nuclear weapon falls off a plane, it won’t necessarily detonate? Do they have to receive the George W. Bush Seal of Approval before they will explode?

2. Greg Finnegan - September 7, 2007

Brenda, no, dropping them won’t cause a nuclear detonation; no mushroom cloud. They may blow up, but not like Hiroshima.

Sandy, I was involved in importing South American beef hides for Milkbone to make rawhide chews. I developed strong teeth.

3. Brenda - September 9, 2007

Stew said I was easy.

4. Greg Finnegan - September 9, 2007

Brenda, Stew HOPES you’re easy! He couldn’t handle it if you turned out to be as strict as Jen and Chloe!

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