USAF -- oops, we didn't realize we were carrying Nukes

Talk about “military intelligence.” :unamused:

[quote]A B-52 bomber from the Minot Air Force Base was mistakenly armed with 5 nuclear warheads and flown for more then three hours across several states. The plane landed in Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana Thursday, August 30th. An investigation immediately began after the error was discovered through internal checks.

“Well, that is what the investigation is here to determine. The Air Force takes its mission to safeguard weapons very seriously. We are conducting this investigations to find the facts, determine what the causes were and identify any and all appropriate corrective measures,” says Lieutenant Colonel Ed Thomas an Air Force Spokesman from the Pentagon.

Because of long standing defense policies, the Air Force would not confirm the weapons loaded on the plane were nuclear missiles. However, the Air Force Times first reported the story. Minot officers who asked not to be identified told the Times the B-52 was loaded with Advanced Cruise Missiles but the nuclear warheads should have been removed at Minot before being transported to Barksdale. According to the Times, the mistake wasn’t discovered until the B-52 landed at Barksdale - meaning the 5 missiles were missing for 3 and a half hours. . .

A Major General has been assigned to investigate the incident, which should take several weeks. A squadron commander has already been relieved of his duties and other airmen have been temporarily decertified. . .[/quote]

And I like this part.

[quote]“Let me stress. The transfer was conducted safely. The weapons were always in Air Force control and always in Air Force custody,” says Lieutenant Colonel Thomas.

Air Force officials say all weapons have been accounted for and at no time was public safety in jeopardy.

“The public was never in danger. Safety is paramount in every munitions activity. . . specific handling, maintenance, transportation and storage procedures are all in place to minimize the risk to everyone and especially the general public,” says Lieutenant Colonel Thomas.[/quote]

Safety is paramount. . . except when we don’t know what the fuck we’re doing.

Seems like a foul-up occurred. But, unless there are more incidents like this or this wasn’t discovered for some time, I’d say it seems the system is working just fine. Someone makes a human error and the system catches and corrects it.

Ok, if you say so.

We invade Iraq over WMDs and it turns out they don’t have any in the entire country.

Meanwhile, the USAF is flying WMDs over our country and even the pilots carrying them aren’t even aware of it until later.

Seems fine to me too.

Wing Attack Code Arse?

No reports of any large explosions over the US mainland. Looks like nothing get upset about. The military will mete out the prescribed penalties.

Nothing to see here…move along.

It wasn’t much of a safety risk actually. We usually transport nukes by boat, which are just as or more dangerous than air travel. The big issue here is that we violated international agreements by flying a plane loaded with nuclear warheads.

How can we even be sure? This could all be a clerical error.

“Staff Sargent…I don’t care what you say or what you claim, if you a** is not on my manifest you do not exist!”

Actual words spoken to me as I was de-planing after a 12 hour military hop. I just said ‘Okey Dokey LT’ and kept on walking.

The report makes it sound as if the nuclear warhead were suppose to have been removed from the missiles, prior to being attached to the plane.

Sound kind of half-ass to have a missile with no warhead attached loaded on a plane.

Doesn’t the US have like 9600 warheads. Not like 5 is going to make a difference.

Ok, first the US invades a country because it insists there are WMDs, but there aren’t. Then it loses a few billion dollars. Then it loses 200,000 rifles, grenade launchers and the like. Then it loses 6 nuclear warheads for several hours.

Should I be concerned? Let’s see, a few guys posting on the internet who teach English to children in Taiwan say “don’t worry, it’s all under control.” On the other hand, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and gang have repeatedly told me to be scared, very scared, about the threat of weapons of mass destruction going missing, because they could fall into the wrong hands. And . . .

Rep. Ike Skelton, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, called the mishandling of the weapons “deeply disturbing” and said the committee would press the military for details.

Rep. Edward J. Markey, a senior member of the Homeland Security Committee, said it was “absolutely inexcusable.”

Nothing like this has ever been reported before and we have been assured for decades that it was impossible,” said Markey, D-Mass., co-chair of the House task force on nonproliferation … PqXOPICIzw

I guess you guys are right. After all, I’m sure you know more than a bunch of leading US experts on armed services, homeland security and nuclear proliferation. And, there were only 6 of them. How much damage can one little nuclear warhead do anyway, or 6 for that matter?

I wonder when they accidently pop a nuke on instead of a tunnel buster bound for Tora Bora?


Someone should check the purity of their canteens.

Well, one would assume the system is in place to actually prevent this from happening but it did. Else what has to happen so that you agree the system did fail? Can’t be an exploding nuke, because then the system catches it, too. :wink:

[quote=“Huang Guang Chen”]I wonder when they accidently pop a nuke on instead of a tunnel buster bound for Tora Bora?


probably better not to give anyone any ideas

No, the system is not working fine.

There are ways to overcome the possibility of human error.

Sure, you can’t always prevent from people deliberately overcoming a system (sabotage), but you can make it difficult put enough checks in place to ensure that several high ranking officials would have to be in on the plot.

Quote the contrary. There is a lot to see here. I’ll start by saying this is extreme negligence.

This was a serious logistical error, and no doubt some people will lose their jobs or at least be demoted over this. But let’s keep things in perspective here. The nukes were under the control of the USAF the entire time. This is more of a case of the right hand not knowing what the left hand was doing than a broken arrow. Those experts you quoted essentially are saying this was a serious breach, very disturbing, etc. And I agree. But that doesn’t amount to a high degree of risk to the public. When we ship these things by truck and boat we travel through and/or near populated areas all the time. But even in the event of a major crash, the probability of detonation is still very low. There’s two issues here. One is the breach of USAF protocols and international agreements not to transport nukes by air, and the other is actual risk to the public. This was a serious error regarding the former, but not so much of a risk regarding the latter. My opinion will change if a safety expert can argue that this was a serious safety risk. And by safety expert I mean engineers or physicists who work in system safety or probabilistic risk assessment. The USAF employs both.

Seems one of the guys responsible for the security of these nukes, Todd Blue, has died in so-far-unrevealed circumstances, while on leave to visit his family:


Call in Jack Bauer

Hell, if the airforce can’t find a WMD on one of it’s own planes, then I guess there is a possibility that Iraq is lousy with them after all.