Air Force Officers To Be Fired For Violating Nuclear Safety

Team Infidel

Forum Spin Doctor
New York Times
October 19, 2007 WASHINGTON, Oct. 18 (AP) — The Air Force is planning to fire at least five officers for violations of nuclear security rules that allowed armed missiles to be mistakenly loaded on a B-52 bomber and flown over the central part of the United States, officials said Thursday.
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, are to be briefed Friday on the disciplinary plan and other results of an Air Force investigation of the flight, which took place on Aug. 30.
The B-52 flew from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana with six nuclear-tipped cruise missiles mounted under one wing. A total of 36 hours passed before the missiles were properly secured, officials have said.
Mr. Gates said Thursday that officials wanted to reduce the chances of another such episode “to the lowest level humanly possible.” But it “would be silly” to promise it will not happen again, he said at a news conference with Admiral Mullen.
Neither Mr. Gates nor Admiral Mullen commented on the pending disciplinary action.
Two Defense Department officials, who were not authorized to discuss the report on the record, said earlier Thursday that the Air Force investigation found that long-established procedures for handling the munitions had not been followed. One official said the report recommended that five or more officers be relieved of their duties.
The officials declined to say what procedures had not been followed. But the events in August would have required a series of lapses by a number of people.
The Air Force said last month that one munitions squadron commander was fired shortly after the flight and that ground crews and others involved had been temporarily decertified for handling weapons.
More than five officers are getting punished according to this:

By PAULINE JELINEK, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - The Air Force said Friday it would punish 70 airmen involved in the accidental, cross-country flight of a nuclear-armed B-52 bomber following an investigation that found widespread disregard for the rules on handling such munitions.
"There has been an erosion of adherence to weapons-handling standards at Minot Air Force Base and Barksdale Air Force Base," said Maj. Gen. Richard Newton, the Air Force deputy chief of staff for operations.
Newton was announcing the results of a six-week probe into the Aug. 29-30 incident in which the B-52 was inadvertently armed with six nuclear-tipped cruise missiles and flown from Minot in North Dakota to Barksdale in Louisiana without anyone noticing the mistake for more than a day.
See the whole article here:
It was refreshing to me to note the chain of command decided to play this one on the up-and-up ... they are starting at the top (officer corps), and working downward (aircraft Commander, co-pilot and downward [Aircraft officers]). When something this happens, they usually start at the deckplate (enlisted), level and work their way upward and stop before they get to the command level. They had already relieved one Commanding Officer over this fiasco.

The article, seems to indicate the punishment will be more widespread than first reported. The loading crew seems to have been playing from their own 'play book' and NOT following the SOP.

70 Punished in Accidental B-52 Flight