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Shrike
07-15-2009, 09:06 AM
BISMARCK, N.D. — The Air Force discharged three ballistic missile crew members who fell asleep while holding classified launch code devices, the military announced Tuesday. Officials said the codes were outdated and remained secure at all times. (http://www.airforcetimes.com/news/2009/07/ap_officers_discharged_minot_071409/) (click text for full article)

Too harsh, or just right? Keep in mind, all three officers had already received Article 15s. I think the USAF is sending a message in the wake of all the recent nuclear problems. However, these three self-identified; I think that showed a tremendous amount of integrity, the cornerstone of our Core Values. Thus, did the USAF not also send a message that by doing the right thing, you may just end your career?

I'm especially interested in what some of the O's have to say.

technomage1
07-15-2009, 09:48 AM
I thought this was a bit harsh, given that they self identified and that the codes were inactive. They should have taken the Article 15 and been permitted to fullfill their minimum term of service in a non nuclear job.

Your_Name_Here
07-15-2009, 10:50 AM
BISMARCK, N.D. — The Air Force discharged three ballistic missile crew members who fell asleep while holding classified launch code devices, the military announced Tuesday. Officials said the codes were outdated and remained secure at all times. (http://www.airforcetimes.com/news/2009/07/ap_officers_discharged_minot_071409/) (click text for full article)

Too harsh, or just right? Keep in mind, all three officers had already received Article 15s. I think the USAF is sending a message in the wake of all the recent nuclear problems. However, these three self-identified; I think that showed a tremendous amount of integrity, the cornerstone of our Core Values. Thus, did the USAF not also send a message that by doing the right thing, you may just end your career?

I'm especially interested in what some of the O's have to say.

At the risk of sounding harsh...you wanna "hear the tune," you gotta pay the piper. Good on them for self-identifying, but it doesn't change the facts of what transpired. There's simply no room--especially in their line of work--for Dereliction of duty.
The message sent, about getting punished even as they self-IDed--I agree that it would be most unfortunate, but I would like to think that the bigger--and at least equally important--point to be made, is to avoid trouble in the first place...by NOT FALLING ASLEEP on duty, especially those with a "finger on a trigger."
Plenty of Airmen, and even NCOs, have been shown the door, due to just not cutting it/inability to adapt to the military lifestyle--even some through no fault of their own (no CJR, for example). Where would that leave three derelict Missileers, who are presumably held to a higher standard? JMHO

BRUWIN
07-15-2009, 11:27 AM
Harsh...I can't see any more individuals self identifying....for anything.

imported_Seasons
07-15-2009, 12:16 PM
While it was a pretty damned bad thing to happen, like YNH is saying...Bruwin's right. People will stop self-identifying and hope to escape the system's notice.

CrustySMSgt
07-15-2009, 01:01 PM
...by NOT FALLING ASLEEP on duty, especially those with a "finger on a trigger."


THis case was discussed at length in a thread somewhere. They didn't "have their finger on the trigger." They fell asleep in the topside TV room at a launch control facility (secured an inhabited by more than a handful of SPs) while waiting for permission to drive back to base. The codes were already expired.

YES, they screwed up. YES, given all the attention regarding nukes it was pretty bad timing. Not that it justifies their actions, but I guaruntee you this isn't an isolated incident... they are just one of the very few crews who would ever turn themselves in. They got what they deserved up to the Article 15... but as stated above, they could have easily served out their enlistment and let the AF get a small return on their investment instead of just running them out the gate.

TJMAC77SP
07-15-2009, 02:13 PM
I am with Crusty on this one. I have seen a lot of officers "allowed to retire in lieu of court martial" when an enlisted member committing the same offense would have been court martialed but this is on case where the convening authority was a little over the top in the punishment.

Slap
07-15-2009, 02:28 PM
i think its over the top but they have no room to complain.

rules are rules.

booyey
07-15-2009, 02:44 PM
They got screwed. Crews did this stuff all the time- and the AF knew it. They just were at the wrong base at the wrong time to self ID.

imported_Multitasker
07-15-2009, 03:31 PM
I wonder who let the cat out of the bag though. Out of all the incidents that occur, this one got out to the press...

midway
07-15-2009, 04:00 PM
As a former NoDak missileer during the good ol' SAC days, I'm very surprised these guys were actually booted out of the AF -- particularly since they were topside and not on alert when the incident happened. During my crew days, it was rare, but not uncommon, for guys to occasionally mishandle codes in some form or fashion to and from alert. They were reprimanded, retrained, etc, but I don't recall anyone ever being cashiered out of the service for anything like this. Depending on the infraction, at worst you may have been sent to check out basketballs at MWR until your AF commitment was up. This is clearly a case of lousy timing on the part of the crew members -- right when Minot was under the microscope. They should have been punished in some fashion -- but discharged??

I'm curious though, does any know what happened to the B-52 crew that accidentally flew the nukes from Minot to Barksdale? Yeah I know some O-6s were fired, and a raft of O's and E's got in trouble to include the aircrew. But were those crewmembers kicked out of the service for what was arguably a far worse violation of nuke procedures?

KRC
07-15-2009, 08:24 PM
I agree it was over the top. The 15 should have been the only corrective action needed. I just about gurantee you, these three would not have screwed up again.

Oh well, if they want a military career, I understand the Army is hurting for Captains'.

The next time some so-called "leader" states that this not a one mistake Air Force, use this as an example.

civie-select
07-15-2009, 10:59 PM
MIdway- my undestanding is that of the crew that was flying the B-52, the Nav(a Maj?) is still flying. I agree with the consensus so far, that this will simply deter any further self-reporting in the future. These missileers realized their mistake and reported it to leadership. After almost seven days in the field they gave into fatigue, and when they realized what had happened they fessed up. Who could have expected it to go this far?

CrustySMSgt
07-15-2009, 11:55 PM
MIdway- my undestanding is that of the crew that was flying the B-52, the Nav(a Maj?) is still flying. I agree with the consensus so far, that this will simply deter any further self-reporting in the future. These missileers realized their mistake and reported it to leadership. After almost seven days in the field they gave into fatigue, and when they realized what had happened they fessed up. Who could have expected it to go this far?

7 days out in the field? Unless things have changed drastically in the 15 years since I last work in the missile field, I can't think of any situation that would put ANY crew in teh field for 7 days, much less the alert crew who traditionally worked 24 hour shifts. I had to go back and check the date the incident occured, thinking maybe they were stuck in winter weather, but it was July. What's up with the 7 days?

NFCstang
07-16-2009, 02:37 PM
In today's AF, I'm suprised they weren't paraded in a cart infront of the wing and then shot at dawn

technomage1
07-16-2009, 04:12 PM
Shot, nah... drawn and quartered.

takthekak
07-16-2009, 11:29 PM
So far no one in this posting knows what the hell they are talking about

Capt Alfredo
07-17-2009, 12:28 AM
So far no one in this posting knows what the hell they are talking about

Since when has THAT been a prerequisite for commenting on a militarytimes.com forum thread?:confused:

imported_Merlin69
07-17-2009, 12:54 AM
In today's AF, I'm suprised they weren't paraded in a cart infront of the wing and then shot at dawn

Inside sources report the often unreported related part of this incident was that they were not wearing their reflective belts either :rolleyes:

Yup, I agree over the top. Expired codes, not on alert, and well within a restricted area; although dumb enough to report their nap.

The one mistake AF lives on!

imported_Bummed
07-17-2009, 12:59 AM
7 days out in the field? Unless things have changed drastically in the 15 years since I last work in the missile field, I can't think of any situation that would put ANY crew in teh field for 7 days, much less the alert crew who traditionally worked 24 hour shifts. I had to go back and check the date the incident occured, thinking maybe they were stuck in winter weather, but it was July. What's up with the 7 days?

Ha Haaa. I knew there was a missile troop out there somewhere! You are right about the 7 days. Not even after a drastic blizzard is the crew left for 7. Choppers rotate them if vehicles can't. The longest crew stay for 6 and they are not code handlers.

EVERYONE knows not to fall asleep. It is easy to just hand the items over for safe-keeping. I see it a different way for the punishment. Instead of keeping people from self-identifying, it should keep it from happening for a while....again.

As for self-identifying, did they really have a choice? Who is going to be selfish enough to hold back when other people's careers are at stake? What if the guard noticed that the cook noticed and did not report it? Then, the cook is at fault for not reporting and the crew goes down anyway. I saw it happen with a maintenance team at Ellsworth. Maybe they were given the chance to self ID rather than be reported.

Okie
07-17-2009, 01:04 AM
Question for the coneheads--what is the proper thing for the crew to do if they determine they are too tired to drive back to base? If there's not a procedure in place, it might be a good idea. We all know that if they had tried to drive back and wrecked the van, the Monday AM quarterbacks would have condemned them for driving tired.

I know they were in the wrong. I'm just asking what the correct solution was.

imported_Bummed
07-17-2009, 01:29 AM
Crew would stay at the Alert Facility, where they fell asleep to start with if they were waiting for permission to return to base. There are rooms with bunks. If a team is close to busting their time-line and can't return to base in time, they will RON at a facility. For the maintenance teams, there is a 16-hr limit. Nuke rules.

The launch crew can sleep downstairs in the capsule while on duty, too.

civie-select
07-17-2009, 01:48 AM
Ha Haaa. I knew there was a missile troop out there somewhere! You are right about the 7 days. Not even after a drastic blizzard is the crew left for 7. Choppers rotate them if vehicles can't. The longest crew stay for 6 and they are not code handlers.


Unfortunately, you're wrong. For those of you that 'used' to work in the missile fields or 'used' to be missileers or worked back in the SAC days..things have changed. Ask any missileer how long he/she was in the field for code change last year. or this year for that matter. You depart on a Sunday and return on a Saturday. Like I said, almost seven days. I know that there are some current missileers on here somewhere. Back me on this. I'm not speaking from rumor or something that I read in an article somewhere. Just because it didn't happen 15 years ago, doesnt mean that it doesnt happen now. THere are ALOT of things that happen now, that didnt happen then.

takthekak
07-17-2009, 02:14 AM
Unfortunately, you're wrong. For those of you that 'used' to work in the missile fields or 'used' to be missileers or worked back in the SAC days..things have changed. Ask any missileer how long he/she was in the field for code change last year. or this year for that matter. You depart on a Sunday and return on a Saturday. Like I said, almost seven days. I know that there are some current missileers on here somewhere. Back me on this. I'm not speaking from rumor or something that I read in an article somewhere. Just because it didn't happen 15 years ago, doesnt mean that it doesnt happen now. THere are ALOT of things that happen now, that didnt happen then.

Correction to my previous post...someone does know what the hell they're talking about...

jetteraf
07-17-2009, 02:24 AM
When I was on alert we occasionally had mistakes like this happen. Most of the time crews were simply re-trained. The only time I heard of a guy getting an Article 15 was when someone forgot to put their lock on the authenticator container (the commander and deputy both have a lock so one person can't access them), and he served the remainder of his commitment.

The punishment is way out of proportion to the crime in this case. To "make an example" of someone for political reasons or to pander to public opinion dishonors the uniform, and I am disappointed, but not surprised, in the senior leadership that let these crew members get cashiered this way.

It's also counter productive in the long run. Missiles already has a culture that encourages covering up mistakes- one bad test in monthly training or a field error can cost you a position as an instructor or evaluator. Nobody wants to spend four years 8-0 (on line crew). All this does is reinforce that culture.

NFCstang
07-17-2009, 11:58 AM
Inside sources report the often unreported related part of this incident was that they were not wearing their reflective belts either :rolleyes:


THen they should have been shot, revived and shot again for good measure

imported_Bummed
07-17-2009, 02:23 PM
Unfortunately, you're wrong. For those of you that 'used' to work in the missile fields or 'used' to be missileers or worked back in the SAC days..things have changed. Ask any missileer how long he/she was in the field for code change last year. or this year for that matter. You depart on a Sunday and return on a Saturday. Like I said, almost seven days. I know that there are some current missileers on here somewhere. Back me on this. I'm not speaking from rumor or something that I read in an article somewhere. Just because it didn't happen 15 years ago, doesnt mean that it doesnt happen now. THere are ALOT of things that happen now, that didnt happen then.

Your're right, code change is a longer trip. Always has been. It used to be yearly, but I don't know how often it is now.

I spoke of regular crew shift times. What code handlers frequently stay out for a week or so?

wingtip78
07-17-2009, 04:29 PM
So far no one in this posting knows what the hell they are talking about

so enlighten us

takthekak
07-17-2009, 07:11 PM
so enlighten us

WASHINGTON, July 24, 2008
Air Force Crew Dozes Off With Launch Codes
3 Crew Members Holding Classified Code Devices Fall Asleep On Duty; Codes Not Compromised
(AP)
Three ballistic missile crew members in North Dakota fell asleep while holding classified launch code
devices this month, triggering an investigation by military and National Security Agency experts, the
Air Force said Thursday. The probe found that the missile launch codes were outdated and remained secure at all times. But the July 12 incident comes on the heels of a series of missteps by the Air Force that had already put the service under intense scrutiny."This was just a procedural violation that we investigated," said Air Force Col. Dewey Ford, a spokesman at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado. "We determined that there was no compromise." The lapse, which involved a crew based at Minot Air Force Base, south of the Canadian border, was serious enough, however, to prompt an investigation by the 91st Missile Wing, in conjunction with codes experts at the 20th Air Force, U.S. Strategic Command and the National Security Agency. It also delivers another blow to the beleaguered Air Force. Last month, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced a sweeping shake-up of the Air Force leadership, blaming them for failing to deal fully with a series of nuclear-related mishaps. At the time, Gates said his decisions to sack the Air Force secretary and chief of staff were based mainly on the blistering conclusions of an internal report on the mistaken shipment to Taiwan of four Air Force fusing devices
for ballistic missile nuclear warheads. He also linked the underlying causes of that slip-up to the August incident in which a B-52 bomber was mistakenly armed with six nuclear warheads and flown from Minot Air Force Base, south of the Canadian border, to Barksdale Air Force Base in the southern state of Louisiana. No one has been punished in the latest Minot incident that involved sleeping crew members. A continuing review by Minot commanders will determine what, if any, actions will be taken against them.
Ford and other Air Force officials said the Minot-based crew had code devices that were no longer usable, since new codes had been installed in the missiles. The three crew members, who are in the 91st Missile Wing, were in the missile alert facility about 70 miles from Minot. That facility includes crew rest areas and sits above the underground control center where the keys can be turned to launch ballistic missiles.
Officials said the three officers were behind locked doors and had with them the old code components, which are large classified devices that allow the crew to communicate with the missiles. Launch codes are part of the component, and the devices were described as large, metal boxes.
Ford said they were waiting to get back to base "and they fell asleep." It is not clear how long they were asleep. There are periodic, regularly scheduled code changes, and there was a crew of four on duty. One of the crew members was not in the room with the other three at the time they fell asleep, the Air Force said. The investigation concluded that the codes had remained secured in their containers, which have combination locks that can be opened only by the crew. The containers remained with the crew at all times, and the facility is guarded by armed security forces. Democratic Sen. Byron Dorgan called the series of nuclear missteps involving Minot Air Force Base in his state, North Dakota, disappointing and unfortunate.
"This appears to me to be an incident in which codes were not compromised but some rules were broken, and those broken rules were reported," Dorgan said. "This does not appear to me to be equal to flying an airplane loaded with nuclear weapons halfway across the county; that was extraordinarily serious.
"I don't think this is an issue about the base. I think it's an issue about personnel," Dorgan said. "There have obviously been management and command problems at this base, and the Air Force has made some command changes to respond to it." Col. Bruce Emig was ousted after the August flight of the B-52 bomber.
"The violation was reported and it required reporting, and the airmen did their duty to report it," Dorgan said, referring to the latest incident. North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven, who spoke with Air Force officials Thursday about the matter, said the Minot base is getting extra scrutiny because of its embarrassing mistakes."They told me procedural violations do occur periodically," he said. But Democratic Rep. Ike Skelton, chairman of the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, called the incident very
troubling. "The new Air Force leadership, when confirmed, must take decisive and urgent steps to restore the culture of respect that our strategic weapons deserve and our national security demands," said Skelton.
Gen. Norton A. Schwartz has been nominated to be the next Air Force chief of staff and Michael Donley to be secretary. During their Senate confirmation hearing this week both men vowed to work to restore trust and confidence in the service. The 91st missile wing has control of several facilities, including 150 intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Tak
04-28-2013, 07:05 PM
This was bullshit. All lts and capts been since seperated, but commander at time now a full bird.
I worked code change a site away from them during that time.

WillsPowers
04-28-2013, 08:48 PM
The Air Force likes to try and control the taxpaying public's perceptions and appearances. "We finally got them rotten apples!" Yeah, right. They are trying to do this with everything from Gitmo, Major Fake Kidnapping Skank Metzger (protected by the Air Force Times) to the MTI shenanigans at Lackland.

Absinthe Anecdote
04-28-2013, 08:53 PM
The Air Force likes to try and control the taxpaying public's perceptions and appearances. "We finally got them rotten apples!" Yeah, right. They are trying to do this with everything from Gitmo, Major Fake Kidnapping Skank Metzger (protected by the Air Force Times) to the MTI shenanigans at Lackland.

Did you ever go to jail for trying to run over your neighbors?

Greg
04-28-2013, 09:02 PM
Did you ever go to jail for trying to run over your neighbors?

He was not trying to run them over. He was using the front bumper of his vehicle to assist his neighbors with an errant basketball.

JD2780
04-28-2013, 09:32 PM
Oh good, our village was boring without its idiot.

Tak
04-28-2013, 10:23 PM
Did Metzger pin on Lt col and is she still a marathon runner.

FLAPS
04-28-2013, 10:26 PM
The Air Force likes to try and control the taxpaying public's perceptions and appearances. "We finally got them rotten apples!" Yeah, right. They are trying to do this with everything from Gitmo, Major Fake Kidnapping Skank Metzger (protected by the Air Force Times) to the MTI shenanigans at Lackland.

How long until you get sent back to banned camp?

KellyinAvon
04-28-2013, 10:55 PM
Did Metzger pin on Lt col and is she still a marathon runner.

Major/Lt Col; marathon runner/couch potato. She's still EVIL, no 2 ways about it.

Tak: you necroposted a thread you posted as takthekak nearly 4 years ago. There has to be a term for that.

KellyinAvon
04-28-2013, 10:56 PM
How long until you get sent back to banned camp?

He'll make a very well thought out post and get printed in AF Times in between going completely off the deep end and getting banned. I give the over-under at 72 hours.

Tak
04-28-2013, 11:04 PM
Major/Lt Col; marathon runner/couch potato. She's still EVIL, no 2 ways about it.

Tak: you necroposted a thread you posted as takthekak nearly 4 years ago. There has to be a term for that.

Virtual reach around?
Scratching the four year bitch?
Zombie posting?
Return of the Tak?

Best I can offer...

Tak
04-28-2013, 11:09 PM
A female crewmember ratted on everyone after return to base.
OG CC gave passes to CC and DO, but crew members got smackdown,
Never recovered. CC not affected at all, given token lor, still left
Assignment as col select. Note, her big boss, was Lt gen berg at time
Who himself received paperwork for nuclear mess. I worked tours with
All crew members, all very competent individuals.

KellyinAvon
04-28-2013, 11:16 PM
Virtual reach around?
Scratching the four year bitch?
Zombie posting?
Return of the Tak?

Best I can offer...

I like zombie posting.

Tak
04-28-2013, 11:53 PM
I like zombie posting.

Me too...ala Serpent and the Rainbow

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_tsKCzG5E1Xk/TGMAcYQvx5I/AAAAAAAAAIU/2uV-AWcPy_s/s1600/The+Serpent+and+the+Rainbow+dvd.jpg

chevyman
04-29-2013, 12:07 AM
Oh good, our village was boring without its idiot.

He is always good for a laugh or two.

chevyman
04-29-2013, 12:10 AM
The Air Force likes to try and control the taxpaying public's perceptions and appearances. "We finally got them rotten apples!" Yeah, right. They are trying to do this with everything from Gitmo, Major Fake Kidnapping Skank Metzger (protected by the Air Force Times) to the MTI shenanigans at Lackland.

Don't drop the soap while you are in jail!

Tak
04-29-2013, 12:13 AM
I think willspowers is a swell guy. Must be some reason he is allowed back after
Telling aft to go $%&# themselves.

chevyman
04-29-2013, 12:21 AM
I think willspowers is a swell guy. Must be some reason he is allowed back after
Telling aft to go $%&# themselves.

Would you be his lawyer or the upcoming court case? What every that person is getting paid it is not enough. I hope his lawyer is a Jill Metzger look alike.

Tak
04-29-2013, 12:29 AM
Would you be his lawyer or the upcoming court case? What every that person is getting paid it is not enough. I hope his lawyer is a Jill Metzger look alike.

I would represent him, but I'm not a lawyer, I'm a pimp.