The Air Force is investigating ballistic missile defenders for drug use … again

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A 90th Missile Wing security forces member competes in a "shoot and move" exercise during the 2019 Global Strike Challenge, Aug. 7, 2019, at Camp Guernsey, Wyo (Air Force photo / Tech Sgt. Tyler Placie)

Guarding an Air Force Base in the middle of Wyoming must get dull at times, even if the weapons behind you could cause a worldwide nuclear holocaust at a moment's notice. Maybe that's part of the reason why airmen at F.E. Warren Air Force Base have made headlines again for alleged drug use.

This time, an unknown number of defenders from the 90th Security Forces Group were removed from their duties and are being investigated in response to reports of marijuana use, according to a statement released by Air Force Global Strike Command on Monday.

As part of the response, Gen. Tim Ray and Chief Master Sgt. Charles Hoffman, the commander and command chief of Air Force Global Strike Command, respectively, held a no-notice leadership call at F.E. Warren Air Force Base on Monday.


"Exceptional job performance does not matter if our Airmen do not live by our core values," Ray said in a statement. "NCOs and officers must set and enforce the standards for our junior Airmen. We must create an environment that fosters warfighting excellence, esprit de corps, and thriving Airmen—off and on duty."

The incident is the latest in a long line of trippy episodes at F.E. Warren. In 2016, Air Force investigators discovered a so-called drug ring where defenders, according to documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, imbibed LSD, cocaine and other drugs, which one can imagine might be a problem in the sober field of protecting weapons of mass destruction.

In that episode, six airmen were convicted at court-martial, while another deserted for Mexico, according to the Associated Press. Later, in May, two airmen were punished for drinking while off-duty at the missile alert facility for 150 nuclear LGM-30G Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Next, in September, Lt. Col. Nicholas Petren, commander of the 90th Security Forces Group, was relieved of command "due to a loss of confidence" in his leadership.

Petren's relief may have been part of a larger leadership shake-up which the Air Force said had taken place across Global Strike Command.

"After years of successes and government-wide revitalization of the command, the four-star general wanted to reemphasize standards," said the command's public affairs team, in reference to Gen. Ray.

"Our solemn duty is to protect this Nation; the majority of our Airmen are exceptional and have made significant gains in ensuring excellence and adhering to exacting standards," Ray said in the statement. "But we will not give up one inch of this hard-earned ground. When any of us see those not living up to our high standards, we will hold them accountable using all of the disciplinary tools available under the military justice system."

The general also reminded airmen of the need for "authentic leadership," the statement said.

Army recruiters hold a swearing-in ceremony for over 40 of Arkansas' Future Soldiers at the Arkansas State Capital Building. (U.S. Army/Amber Osei)

Though the Army has yet to actually set an official recruiting goal for this year, leaders are confident they're going to bring in more soldiers than last year.

Maj. Gen. Frank Muth, head of Army Recruiting Command, told reporters on Wednesday that the Army was currently 2,226 contracts ahead of where it was in 2019.

"I will just tell you that this time last year we were in the red, and now we're in the green which is — the momentum's there and we see it continuing throughout the end of the year," Muth said, adding that the service hit recruiting numbers in February that haven't been hit during that month since 2014.

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(U.S. Marine Corps photo)

Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.

We are women veterans who have served in the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. Our service – as aviators, ship drivers, intelligence analysts, engineers, professors, and diplomats — spans decades. We have served in times of peace and war, separated from our families and loved ones. We are proud of our accomplishments, particularly as many were earned while immersed in a military culture that often ignores and demeans women's contributions. We are veterans.

Yet we recognize that as we grew as leaders over time, we often failed to challenge or even question this culture. It took decades for us to recognize that our individual successes came despite this culture and the damage it caused us and the women who follow in our footsteps. The easier course has always been to tolerate insulting, discriminatory, and harmful behavior toward women veterans and service members and to cling to the idea that 'a few bad apples' do not reflect the attitudes of the whole.

Recent allegations that Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie allegedly sought to intentionally discredit a female veteran who reported a sexual assault at a VA medical center allow no such pretense.

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In this June 16, 2018 photo, Taliban fighters greet residents in the Surkhroad district of Nangarhar province, east of Kabul, Afghanistan, (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

KABUL/WASHINGTON/PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - The United States and the Taliban will sign an agreement on Feb. 29 at the end of a week long period of violence reduction in Afghanistan, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Taliban said on Friday.

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A U.S. Army UH-60L Black Hawk crew chief with the New Jersey National Guard's 1-171st General Support Aviation Battalion stands for a portrait at the Army Aviation Support Facility on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., Feb. 3, 2020 (Air National Guard photo / Master Sgt. Matt Hecht)

Active-duty service members, Reservists and National Guard members often serve side-by-side performing highly skilled and dangerous jobs, such as parachuting, explosives demolition and flight deck operations.

Reservists and Guard members are required to undergo the same training as specialized active-duty troops, and they face the same risks. Yet the extra incentive pay they receive for their work — called hazardous duty incentive pay — is merely a fraction of what their active-duty counterparts receive for performing the same job.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers, led by U.S. Rep. Andy Kim, D-3 of Moorestown, are partnering on legislation to correct the inequity. Known as the Guard and Reserve Hazard Duty Pay Equity Act, the bill seeks to standardize payment of hazardous duty incentive pay for all members of the armed services, including Reserve and National Guard components.

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Editor's Note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

Another Marine was hit with jail time and a bad-conduct discharge in connection with a slew of arrests made last summer over suspicions that members of a California-based infantry battalion were transporting people who'd crossed into the U.S. illegally.

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