70 punished in ‘accidental’ nuke flight

70 punished in 'accidental' nuke flightfrom ap: The Air Force said Friday it has punished 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.

The missiles were supposed to be taken to Louisiana, but the warheads were supposed to have been removed beforehand.

AP reports on how nuclear weapons were mistakenly placed on cross-country B-52 flight. AP reports on how nuclear weapons were mistakenly placed on cross-country B-52 flight. (232kb MP3)

air force to fire officers involved in
‘mistaken’ nuclear weapons flight
air force to fire officers involved in 'mistaken' nuclear weapons flightfrom kval: The Air Force is planning to fire at least five officers for an incident in which nuclear-armed missiles were mistakenly loaded on a B-52 bomber and flown across the U.S. – the worst known violation of nuclear security rules in decades.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is scheduled to be briefed Friday on the plan to fire the officers and other results of a six-week Air Force probe into the Aug. 30 incident. No one noticed for hours that the weapons were on the bomber, several Defense Department officials said.

One said the investigation found long-established procedures for handling the munitions were not followed and it recommends that five or more officers be relieved of their duties.

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