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Thread: Air Force sidelines 17 ICBM launch officers; commander cites ‘rot’ within system

  1. #31
    JD2780
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    Re: Air Force sidelines 17 ICBM launch officers; commander cites ‘rot’ within system

    I felt that way when I got my combat action badges and combat patches from the Army. Then AF said we can't have those. Effing dorks.

  2. #32
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    Re: Air Force sidelines 17 ICBM launch officers; commander cites ‘rot’ within system

    Quote Originally Posted by Venus View Post
    And it's a far cry from what those still slogging along, putting in the long hours deserve. These are the guys who still believe in what we do as a service (core mission) but as has been pointed out, they have been overrun and shouted down by the PT/BBQ-organizer mob.
    I think the first step in correcting this debacle is to bring back SAC with it's zero-tolerance mindset. The trick though is to bring back its rewards as well as its punishments. I wasn't in the AF to witness this first hand so I'll ask the old timers with experience to set the record straight here. Am I right in thinking that while you had a very tough, unforgving job and those who couldn't hack it got busted fast, those who proved themselves up to the task got promotoed quicker? Bring back a tough system such as that which rewards WORK performance over extra-curricular crap and things will start to turn around
    More proud of this than any medal or award I ever got, it was the recognition that I did my job and was respected and counted on to get it done. Something that is sorely missing in today's USAF.
    I have my SAC Master Technician badge proudly displayed in my shadow box...my retiring official noted it and talked about what it meant for quite a bit.

  3. #33
    Tak
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    Re: Air Force sidelines 17 ICBM launch officers; commander cites ‘rot’ within system

    By Michael Hoffman - AF Times Staff writer
    Posted : Friday May 30, 2008 15:10:15 EDT

    The 5th Bomb Wing at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., has failed its much-anticipated defense nuclear surety inspection, according to a Defense Threat Reduction Agency report.

    DRTA inspectors gave the wing an “unsatisfactory” grade Sunday after uncovering many crucial mistakes during the weeklong inspection, which began May 17. They attributed the errors primarily to lack of supervision and leadership among security forces.
    Inspectors from Air Combat Command also participated, but the Air Force refused to provide specifics on their findings.

    Security broke down on multiple levels during simulated attacks across the base, including against nuclear weapons storage areas, according to the DTRA report, a copy of which was obtained by Air Force Times.

    Inspectors watched as a security forces airman played video games on his cell phone while standing guard at a “restricted area perimeter,” the DTRA report said. Meanwhile, another airman nearby was “unaware of her duties and responsibilities” during the exercise.

    The lapses are baffling, given the high-level focus on Minot since last August, when 5th Bomb Wing airmen mistakenly loaded six nuclear-tipped cruise missiles onto a B-52 Stratofortress and flew them to Barksdale Air Force Base, La., where the plane sat on the flight line, unattended, for hours. That incident not only embarrassed the Air Force, but raised concerns worldwide about the deterioration in U.S. nuclear safety standards.

    Col. Joel Westa took command of the 5th Bomb Wing following that fiasco. After it failed an initial nuclear surety inspection, or dry run, in December, Westa acknowledged this inspection was going to be the “most scrutinized inspection in the history of time.”

    Even so, airmen were unprepared.

    “Overall their assessment painted a picture of some things we need to work on in the areas of training and discipline,” Westa said in a statement.

    His airmen are working diligently to correct deficiencies, he said.

    Inspectors from Air Combat Command will now return to Minot in August to determine if the necessary improvements have been made. Eventually, the wing will have to pass a full defense nuclear surety inspection.

    Although the wing failed, it will keep its certification to handle nuclear weapons and will carry on with training right up to the day ACC inspectors revisit the base, said Maj. Thomas Crosson, a command spokesman. The base lost its certification immediately after the incident last August and didn’t have it restored until March 31, after it passed a second dry run.

    The wing will participate in both a Red Flag exercise this summer and a nuclear readiness operation exercise as it prepares for the inspectors’ next visit, Crosson said.

    DTRA inspectors gave the wing passing grades in nine of 10 areas they examined, including safety and technical operations, but failed it for its nuclear security.

    “The most serious failure is the one regarding security, which is exactly what the Minot incident was all about,” said Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists.

    Litany of failure
    The DRTA report highlighted an incredible number of gaffes:

    * An internal security response team didn’t respond to its “pre-designated defensive fighting position” during an attack on the weapon storage area, leaving an entire side of the maintenance facility vulnerable to enemy fire.

    * Security forces didn’t clear a building upon entering it, which allowed inspectors to “kill” three of those four airmen.

    * Security forces failed to use the correct entry codes, issued that week, to allow certain personnel into restricted areas.

    * Security forces airmen failed to properly check an emergency vehicle for unauthorized personnel when it arrived at a weapons storage area, or search it correctly once it left.

    * While wing airmen simulated loading an aircraft with nuclear weapons, security forces airmen failed to investigate vulnerabilities on the route from the storage area to the flight line, and didn’t arm three SF airmen posted at traffic control points along that route.

    * While on the aircraft, one flight of security forces airmen didn’t understand key nuclear surety terminology, including the “two-person concept” — the security mechanism that requires two people to arm a nuclear weapon in case the codes fall into the hands of an airman gone bad.

    “Security forces’ level of knowledge, understanding of assigned duties, and response to unusual situations reflected a lack of adequate supervision,” wrote the DTRA team chief.

    Security forces leaders rarely visited their airmen on post, and routine exercises “were neither robust nor taken to their logical conclusion,” according to the report.

    After reviewing base records, inspectors found “leaders were unengaged [in] the proper supervision of SF airmen.”

    “If the leadership is still unengaged after all that has happened with the warheads, the missing ballistic missile fuses and problems with the first inspection, then they’re not fit to have this mission,” Kristensen said. “It’s really frightening.”

    Security forces errors made up the majority of the 14-page DTRA inspection report, but inspectors found fault with other parts of operations, including late status reports and major errors in the wing’s personnel reliability program, which dictates who can handle nukes.

    While reviewing records, inspectors found one individual cleared to handle nukes had been “diagnosed for alcohol abuse” but was allowed to keep his certification, according to the report.

    More fallout?
    Immediately after the loss of control over the six nuclear warheads last August, the former 5th Bomb Wing commander was fired, along with three other high-ranking officers. Sixty-nine airmen temporarily lost their certification to handle nukes.

    Crosson said there are no plans to fire any “key personnel” now. He did not rule out punitive actions for other airmen, however.

    This latest setback comes shortly after Air Force officials announced plans to form a new B-52 squadron at Minot, which will allow one bomber squadron to focus solely on the nuclear mission. The move is largely in response to the findings of a blue ribbon panel, which told Congress the bomber force had lost sight of the nuclear mission due to the heavy demands of supporting troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    “Several of the senior [Defense Department] people interviewed believe that the decline in focus has been more pronounced than realized and too extreme to be acceptable,” according to a report written by a Defense Science Board task force headed by retired Air Force Gen. Larry Welch, a former chief of staff.

    Considering the level of resources dedicated to ensuring the 5th Bomb Wing could meet standards — including the arrival of new senior noncommissioned officers from other bases — Kristensen said he worries about nuclear security not only at Minot but across the service.

    “It makes you wonder what’s going on elsewhere, like the nuclear weapons stationed at bases overseas, and at Barksdale Air Force Base and Whiteman Air Force Base,” he said.

    ACC officials said the command will continue to support the 5th Bomb Wing’s leadership and provide the manning to fix security problems.

    “We take our responsibilities to protect and safeguard weapons with the utmost seriousness, and understand there is zero tolerance for errors,” according to an ACC statement.

    Airmen with the 5th Bomb Wing can expect more long hours ahead as the wing scrambles to fix its security holes before ACC inspectors return.

    “They really need to drill their people to make sure this can’t happen,” Kristensen said.

    It’s not the first time airmen at Minot have heard such warnings.

  4. #34
    Tak
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    Re: Air Force sidelines 17 ICBM launch officers; commander cites ‘rot’ within system

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/12/18/air....html?_s=PM:US

    "In the wake of recent problems, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and top Air Force officials have indicated a zero tolerance for failing inspections"

  5. #35
    Tak
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    Re: Air Force sidelines 17 ICBM launch officers; commander cites ‘rot’ within system


  6. #36
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    Re: Air Force sidelines 17 ICBM launch officers; commander cites ‘rot’ within system

    Quote Originally Posted by Measure Man View Post
    I have my SAC Master Technician badge proudly displayed in my shadow box...my retiring official noted it and talked about what it meant for quite a bit.
    All of you that have responded to my SAC Master Crew Chief badge picture the way troops who had pride in what they did. Does this exist any where else in today's USAF? I remember wearing it when I showed up to work in a TAC outfit and was immediately told by supervision to get it off my uniform asap. I think the SAC mentality of all are important to getting the mission done went against the ACC/TAC mindset and that is where we went wrong as a service. Now SAC wasn't perfect which showed up in Desert Storm of not being flexible enough to bend to the situation on the battlefield but it was still effective.
    I'm not the regular Crew Chief.

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    Re: Air Force sidelines 17 ICBM launch officers; commander cites ‘rot’ within system

    Quote Originally Posted by Venus View Post
    It started when the USSR folded and a true mission disappeared. Then the coup de gras was when SAC was disbanded and ACC took over and marginalized most of the troops who are part of our nuclear triad unlike the Navy with the TACAMO's and Ohio Class subs who stay on high state of readiness. Then the environment of the USAF changed of being good at your job was discounted and fluff, waist size, and useless degrees took over. One thing I noticed about today's Airmen is that most of them are not proud to be in the unit they are in besides the Spec ops community or fighter pilots. Don't get me wrong being in SAC was not easy, you followed checklists to the letter, ORI's, long hours, and arctic conditions but when we in SAC looked at the rest of the Air Force we had a inner pride enduring the hardships of it especially my own experiences being on alert and keeping my tanker or buff ready to go. You got to know what it was all about when looked into the bomb bay and saw items that could wipe out life on earth. Am I wrong?
    Plus +1...agree with all. SAC will be back!

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    Re: Air Force sidelines 17 ICBM launch officers; commander cites ‘rot’ within system

    Quote Originally Posted by OtisRNeedleman View Post
    More proud of this than any medal or award I ever got, it was the recognition that I did my job and was respected and counted on to get it done. Something that is sorely missing in today's USAF.
    Yeah, I felt the same way when I got my ATC Master Instructor cookie. Matter of fact, since I worked in a training support job while at Randolph, I could continue to wear the cookie. Altogether wore that Master Instructor cookie from 1985 to 1992.[/QUOTE]

    The Master Crew Chief patch is the center-piece of my retirement shadowbox. It was damn hard to get one of those in SAC, one minor write-up in a 12 month period and the clock started all over again.

  9. #39
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    Re: Air Force sidelines 17 ICBM launch officers; commander cites ‘rot’ within system

    Quote Originally Posted by Tak View Post
    http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/12/18/air....html?_s=PM:US

    "In the wake of recent problems, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and top Air Force officials have indicated a zero tolerance for failing inspections"
    And now apparently the deputy commander of the 91st Operations Group has zero tolerance for an overall satisfactory passing that included a marginal passing of at least one area. Good for him. It's a shame that the word leaked out as this seems to be nothing for know-nothing Congressmen to worry about because there is nothing for the SeCAF or CSAF to do - they passed the inspection. But it seems this one LtCol is taking the bull by the horns to fix it - something that should have happened a long time ago. Any chance that a thousand other people in the wing busted their asses to get excellent and outstanding grades within their functional areas only to have these bozos fuck up, get a marginal in their area and bring the entire wing down to satisfactory? The idea that some of these officers had "attitude" problems, questioned superiors, and generally maintained a culture of indifference does not indicate training is needed. Counseling (wall-to-wall) and reprimands are the fix.

  10. #40
    Junior Member 106PADDOCK's Avatar
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    Re: Air Force sidelines 17 ICBM launch officers; commander cites ‘rot’ within system

    Quote Originally Posted by crwchf16 View Post
    And it's a far cry from what those still slogging along, putting in the long hours deserve. These are the guys who still believe in what we do as a service (core mission) but as has been pointed out, they have been overrun and shouted down by the PT/BBQ-organizer mob.
    I think the first step in correcting this debacle is to bring back SAC with it's zero-tolerance mindset. The trick though is to bring back its rewards as well as its punishments. I wasn't in the AF to witness this first hand so I'll ask the old timers with experience to set the record straight here. Am I right in thinking that while you had a very tough, unforgiving job and those who couldn't hack it got busted fast, those who proved themselves up to the task got promoted quicker? Bring back a tough system such as that which rewards WORK performance over extra-curricular crap and things will start to turn around.
    I grew up on SAC bases and watched and listen to the NCO fathers of my playmates demanding stellar performance and accountability from those around them. Forty five years later I still recall that , PRIDE( Professional Results in Daily Efforts) was the standard & motto I saw everywhere on base.........and yes the SAC troops did strut !

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