WASHINGTON — A B-52 bomber was mistakenly armed with six nuclear warheads and flown for more than three hours across several states last week, prompting an Air Force investigation and the firing of one commander, Pentagon officials said Wednesday.
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.
The plane was carrying Advanced Cruise Missiles from Minot Air Force Base, N.D, to Barksdale Air Force Base, La., on Aug. 30, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of a Defense Department policy not to confirm information on nuclear weapons.
The missiles, which are being decommissioned, were mounted onto pylons on the bomber’s wings and it is unclear why the warheads had not been removed beforehand. Earlier, the Associated Press erroneously reported the bomber was armed with only five warheads.
Investigation to take weeks
The Air Combat Command has ordered a command-wide stand down on Sept. 14 to review procedures, officials said
What wasn't reported was that several of the USAF personnel who discovered the breach in nuke weapon security died soon after even though they were young. I seem to remember something like 6 died in the two or three months that followed, in car accidents etc, similarly to how witnesses to the Las Vegas massacre or the Kennedy assassination just died left right and center.
The Mystery of Minot: Loose nukes and a cluster of dead airmen raise troubling questions
The American Conservative has discovered that to date, more than a month after the incident, Pentagon investigators have completely ignored a peculiar cluster of six deaths, during the weeks immediately preceding and following the flight, of personnel at the two Air Force bases involved in the incident and Air Force Commando Operations headquarters.