U.S. loses accountability of 5 nukes for 3 1/2 hours

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U.S. loses accountability of 5 nukes for 3 1/2 hours

The Air Force loaded five advanced Tomohawk missiles aboard a B-52 in Minot, North Dakota and flew them to Barksdale, Louisiana for decommisioning. No biggie, you think, such things happen all the time, right? Well, this time it was different, as the missiles they loaded were still equipped with the nuclear warheads.

Here are some really funny statements by the embarrassed U.S. Air Force:

... Quote:
"The mistake is that the warheads were inadvertently loaded onto the airplane, however the Air Force was always in control of these weapons."

The Air Force was always in control of the weapons? Hell, the Air Force didn't even know they had the weapons aboard the planes! For the three and one half hour flight, the time before while the handling and loading was going on and the time after landing and before discovery of the gaff, the Air Force had NO IDEA they had misplaced five warheads! How in the world did these bozos accomplish this?

... Quote:
"Air Force standards are very exacting when it comes to munitions handling," Thomas said. "The weapons were always in our custody and there was never a danger to the American public."

Well, I'd say that the fact that this happened would negate any notion that the Air Force's standards for handling munitions is exacting. As a matter of fact, the move Dr. Strangelove comes to mind right about now. If you haven't seen the movie, SEE IT! It'll help you understand this whole incident.

Ok, I should put something in this thread that is good news:
... Quote:
Officials told the paper there was no risk of nuclear detonation, even if the plane crashed due to technical safeguards.

Ok, that is true. The Permissive Action Link would prevent the warhead from detonating, even if the missile had been fired. There would have been no detonation, even if the plane had a very violent crash. But while no nuclear detonation would have occured, nuclear material would have been scattered.

One more point to make you feel more at ease after such a disturbing article:
... Quote:
Thomas said he could confirm that all remaining nuclear weapons at Minot are accounted for.

Was Thomas the brainiac who counted the first time?!?
Come to think about it, don't feel at ease, be afraid. Be very Afraid. :)

By Thomas_Crowne: posted on 6-9-2007

From Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

General "Buck" Turgidson: Uh, we're, still trying to figure out the meaning of that last phrase, sir.

President Merkin Muffley: There's nothing to figure out, General Turgidson. This man is obviously a psychotic.

General "Buck" Turgidson: We-he-ell, uh, I'd like to hold off judgement on a thing like that, sir, until all the facts are in.

President Merkin Muffley: General Turgidson! When you instituted the human reliability tests, you *assured* me there was *no* possibility of such a thing *ever* occurring!

General "Buck" Turgidson: Well, I, uh, don't think it's quite fair to condemn a whole program because of a single slip-up, sir.
By Thomas_Crowne: posted on 6-9-2007

I found some interesting information on this below.

There are up to 30+ people and 7 vehicles in the movement of a nuclear weapon, some of the people have shoot to kill authority.

Someone noted
... Quote:
Having been involved with special weapon security, i find it very hard to believe that this kind of mistake could be made.

Brit and US procedures are similar, there would be a "custodian" for these weapons at every stage, he/she would not let these get out of their sight and have to stay with them physically.
With so many involved how could they get mistaken for non nuclear weapons?

Another person noted that
... Quote:
So this was either a complete breakdown of command and squadron regulations or some rogue group was running a little test.

By netchicken: posted on 6-9-2007

Broken Arrows

Do nucs ever get lost?

Yep, look at this..
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The Air Force, Army and Navy began a joint search for the bomb the day it dropped, and try as they might for ten weeks, they never recovered it. Labeled “Irretrievably Lost,” today it rests somewhere at the foot of the Savannah River, 20 miles east of Savannah, Georgia, and 15 miles south of Hilton Head, South Carolina.

In this area the water depth averages 15 feet, when an ever-thickening soup of mud and sand congeals; by the time it reaches 90 feet thick it has gradually metamorphoses into stone. Below that lies the Floridian Aquifer, which provides clean drinking water to all points south.

Those are the facts that everyone pretty much agrees on.

Current estimates say it may be buried in 15 feet of muck. No one can be quite sure, though. Just weeks after the incident, Arthur Arseneault, the Naval officer who led the original search, proposed to reenact the event with a concrete dummy bomb in order to determine the path a 7,600-pound object would create in the mud, and how deeply it would come to rest. The Air Force blocked Arseneault’s plan, and gave up the search.
TC how about this place a good dive site :)

More on lost nuclear weapons.

... Quote:
Palomares, Spain - 1966

The most serious reported accident in the U.S. Military's nuclear history took place in Palomares, Spain on Jan. 17, 1966 when a B-52 loaded with four nuclear bombs suffered a mid-air collision with a KC-135 refueling plane.

All four bombs were ejected from the B-52 in the crash. One was recovered on the ground and a second from the sea after a long and difficult search. However, the high explosive packages of the other two bombs detonated on impact with the ground.

While the nuclear payloads of the bombs did not detonate, over 1,400 tons of surrounding soil and vegetation were contaminated with radioactive materials. The US conducted an extensive cleanup of the area under the scrutiny of the Spanish government.
... Quote:
Lakenheath Air Base, Suffolk, England - 1956

On July 27, 1956, A B-47 bomber crashed at Lakenheath Airbase in Suffolk, England.

While the bomber carried no nuclear weapons, it hit a concrete nuclear weapons storage bunker known as the "igloo," where three U.S. Mark VI nuclear bombs -- the same type of bomb dropped on Nagasaki -- were stored.

In the collision, three of the bombs sustained damage that could have resulted in detonation.

In explaining the accident, Gen. James Walsh, commanding officer of the U.S. 7th Air Division in England, sent a brief cable to Gen. Curtis LeMay, commander of the U.S. Strategic Air Command.

"Aircraft then exploded, showering burning fuel over all. Crew perished. ... Preliminary exam by bomb disposal officer says a miracle that one Mark Six with exposed detonators sheared didn't go."
By netchicken: posted on 6-9-2007

I'm well aware of security for special weapons as I did that for several years in the Army.
The only way I can figure that this happened was in the maintenance facility where they were removing the warheads from the missiles. Maybe they loaded weapons that were waiting for the warheads to be removed rather than the other five that were actually the ones they were supposed to load and ship.
Still, they didn't check by serial number during loading?
See, the whole thing is incredibly insane! I never thought the day would come that the Air Force would make the Army look so smart! We NEVER lost anything! Well, no special weapons, anyway.

As far as the other broken arrows you pointed out, they aren't quite the same thing. These weapons were misplaced! To me that is FAR worse. Next time it happens, what will be the circumstances?
By Thomas_Crowne: posted on 6-9-2007

Here is another idea put forward by a tinfoil hat wearer, but still makes you wonder....
... Quote:
I called a old friend and retired B-52 pilot and asked him (about the nucs).

What he told me offers one compelling case of circumstantial evidence. My buddy, let’s call him Jack D. Ripper, 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.

Then he told me something I had not heard before.

Barksdale Air Force Base is being used as a jumping off point for Middle East operations.

Gee, why would we want cruise missile nukes at Barksdale Air Force Base. Can’t imagine we would need to use them in Iraq. 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 can’t 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. We need some tough questions and clear answers. What the hell is going on? Did someone at Barksdale try to indirectly warn the American people that the Bush Administration is staging nukes for Iran? I don’t know, but it is a question worth asking.
By netchicken: posted on 7-9-2007

Here is a reply to the article. This issue is so interesting, Its got more hooks than velcro. Turns out this was a breach of a treaty with Russia by flying them.


... Quote:
Nuclear weapons being flown on B-52 is not a "non-event", it's a big deal because we signed a treaty with Russia saying we would not put nuclear weapons on planes any more, BECAUSE, back during the cold war the U.S. would fly B-52's in standoff mode around the Soviet Union 24-7-365.

Nukes on B-52's was and still is one of our primary nuclear weapon delivery methods. So when those missiles flew over the U.S., we were in violation of that treaty, and violating nuclear arms treaties is not something the U.S. does lightly, contrary to the mis-informed opinion of the common internet poster.

The missile's were being deactivated, the warheads were to be removed and transported buy trucks. The problem is the missiles were never checked to be sure the nuclear warheads were removed.

So what this means is a huge act of incompetence on the part of our military personnel who are suppose to check those things out. What that means is that if they didnt bother to check the nuclear warheads were removed, what other mistakes are they making???

This is a huge embarressment for the Air Force. THATS THE PROBLEM AND THATS WHY ITS A BIG STORY.

If the U.S. were to drop Nukes on Iran, they WHOLE WORLD would be against us, and possibly take military action against us. It would not be worth it, politically speaking, for the U.S. to drop nukes on Iran. Besides, our military is so far superior to Iran, that the U.S. could easily defeat Iran in any type of war.

Larry C Johnson, who wrote the "article" on this Atlantic Free Press website, is probably out right lying when he claims to have "called a old friend and retired B-52 pilot and asked him." I seriously doubt Larry knows any retired B-52 pilots. Larry Johnson has no credibillity, the Atlantic Free Press has no credibillity.
By netchicken: posted on 7-9-2007

There were 6 missiles!

The Air Force continued handing out disciplinary actions in response to the six nuclear warheads mistakenly flown on a B-52 Stratofortress bomber from Minot Air Force Base, N.D., to Barksdale Air Force Base, La., on Aug. 30. The squadron commander in charge of Minot’s munitions crews was relieved of all duties pending the investigation.

It was originally reported that five nuclear warheads were transported, but officers who tipped Military Times to the incident who have asked to remain anonymous since they are not authorized to discuss the incident, have since updated that number to six.

Air Force and defense officials would not confirm the missiles were armed with nuclear warheads Wednesday, citing longstanding policy, but they did confirm the Air Force was “investigating an error made last Thursday during the transfer of munitions” from Minot to Barksdale.

The original plan was to transport non-nuclear Advanced Cruise Missiles, mounted on the wings of a B-52, to Barksdale as part of a Defense Department effort to decommission 400 of the ACMs. It was not discovered that the six missiles had nuclear warheads until the plane landed at Barksdale, leaving the warheads unaccounted for during the approximately 3 1/2 hour flight between the two bases, the officers said.

President Bush was immediately alerted to the mistake and the Air Force launched a service-wide investigation headed by Maj. Gen. Douglas Raaberg, director of Air and Space Operations at Air Combat Command Headquarters, said Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. Ed Thomas.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has requested daily briefings from Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Michael Moseley on the progress of the probe. Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., a member of the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee, requested a full classified briefing, not just the preliminary information being provided to lawmakers, to explain how a mistake of this magnitude could have happened.

Thomas said the transfer was conducted safely and the American public was never in any danger since the weapons were in Air Force custody and control at all times.

Much more on the site
By netchicken: posted on 11-9-2007

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