A couple of weeks ago I was alarmed when I saw the story about a U.S. AirForce B-52 bomber that was loaded with 6 nuclear warheads that flew from Minot Air Force Base, N.D., to Barksdale AFB in Louisiana and sat on the tarmac for 10 hours undetected. I could not believe that nobody realized when they were loading the plane up that the one box marked ³NUCLEAR WEAPON - DO NOT SHAKE² did not alert anyone. How did the U.S. Air Force put 6 nuclear warheads in cargo that went unnoticed.
At first I kind of chuckled thinking that Gomer Pyle must be calling the shots now. Then I started becoming unnerved about how 6 nuclear war heads would just have "accidentally" flown over the central portion of the United States for a matter of 3 hours or so. Then I started thinking more about what actually had occurred and wondered how all of this could have happened. Especially in the world we live in today where Al Qaida is actively pursuing nuclear capabilities, how could someone just by "accident" place 6 nuclear warheads on a B-52 bomber. That is no small task to accomplish. It's not like oops I forgot the milk at the grocery store.
As I was scratching my head pondering this humongous mistake, I went back online and read the article again. Then I realized the MAJOR
portion of the story I had missed. The nuclear warheads weren't inside the plane...they were attached to missiles on the wings of the plane. That is when it hit me, Holy Crap
, what is going on here. It sounds like obtaining a nuclear weapon from the military would be as easy as buying a case of beer from a beerdistributor.
Now I was even more dumfounded. I return to the fact that in today¹s world, would we not have the utmost protection in place for safe guarding the United States nuclear weapon stock pile. Is this not a major concern of Homeland Security, to prevent outside forces who want to topple this country, from getting inside this country with such a destructive weapon. Or even worse was the what if factor. What if that plane had crashed. That probably would have been all she wrote for the heartland of America, if not complete annihilation of our country. This was just too big of a blooper to be an "accident."
This story was here and gone by tomorrow. This story rolled out faster than yesterdays newspaper. The only bit you heard was that a high ranking Air Force official was fired for this "accident." I am sure that the U.S.government played no role in burying this story as fast as they could. I think it is funny that Lindsey Lohan's rehab trips and Britney Spears custody battle receive more attention than how close we could have come to blowing ourselves off the map.
Apparently someone else shared my sentiment about this story and a buddy of mine emailed me a story today that is a follow-up to the original. I thought I would share it and let you the reader form your own opinion on what happened. Navy veteran questions why six nuclear missiles were flown on combataircraft to staging area for Middle East
Published: Monday October 8, 2007
A retired lieutenant commander in the Navy Reserve who served with the Navy's Supervisor of Salvage questioned in a little-noticed editorial Sunday why six active nuclear armed cruise missiles were being transferred to an active bomber base that "just happens to be the staging area for Middle Eastern operations."
"The United States also does not transport nuclear weapons meant for elimination attached to their launch vehicles under the wings of a combat aircraft," Navy veteran Robert Stormer wrote in the Texas-based Star-Telegram.
"The procedure is to separate the warhead from the missile, encase the warhead and transport it by military cargo aircraft to arepository -- not an operational bomber base that just happens to be the staging area for Middle Eastern operations."
Six nuclear W80 nuclear-armed cruise missiles were flown to Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota to Barksdale AFB in Louisiana where they sat for ten hours undetected.
"Press reports initially cited the Air Force mistake of flying nuclear weapons over the United States in violation of Air Force standing orders and international treaties, while completely missing the more important majorissues, such as how six nuclear cruise missiles got loose to begin with," writes Stormer.
"Let me be very clear here: We are not talking about paintball cartridges or pellet gun ammo. We are talking nuclear weapons."
Stormer doesn't buy reports that the missiles were simply lost. The title of his piece is "Nuke transportation story has explosive implications."
"There is a strict chain of custody for all such weapons," he said. "Nuclear weapons handling is spelled out in great detail in Air Force regulations, to the credit of that service. Every person who orders the movement of these weapons, handles them, breaks seals or moves any nuclear weapon must signoff for tracking purposes."
"All security forces assigned are authorized "to use deadly force to protect the weapons from any threat. Nor does anyone quickly move a 1-ton cruisemissile -- or forget about six of them, as reported by some news outlets, especially cruise missiles loaded with high explosives.
"This is about how six nuclear advanced cruise missiles got out of their bunkers and onto a combat aircraft without notice of the wing commander,squadron commander, munitions maintenance squadron (MMS), the B-52H's crew chief and command pilot and onto another Air Force base tarmac without notice of that air base's chain of command -- for 10 hours."
At the end of his editorial, he poses the following questions. The questions that must be answered:
1. Why, and for what ostensible purpose, were these nuclear weapons taken to Barksdale?
2. How long was it before the error was discovered?
3. How many mistakes and errors were made, and how many needed to be made,for this to happen?
4. How many and which security protocols were overlooked?
5. How many and which safety procedures were bypassed or ignored?
6. How many other nuclear command and control non-observations of procedurehave there been?
7. What is Congress going to do to better oversee U.S. nuclear command andcontrol?
8. How does this incident relate to concern for reliability of control overnuclear weapons and nuclear materials in Russia, Pakistan and elsewhere?
9. Does the Bush administration, as some news reports suggest, have plans to attack Iran with nuclear weapons?
10. If this was an accident, have we degraded our military to a point wherewe are now making critical mistakes with our nuclear arsenal? If so, how dowe correct this?
Listen I am not in any way belittling the men and women who serve our country with great honor. I have a lot of respect and admiration for those people. I do however, have an issue with what took place and it starts at the TOP. Thank God that nothing did happen or this story, which everyone in the world would have read about, might be talking about the large amount of Americans who died because of this "accident."
After reading this I think the word "accident" should be removed from the original story.
Labels: accident, air force, nuclear bombs