At least 14 airmen assigned to one of the Air Force security units which guard the Pentagon's nuclear missile silos were disciplined for consuming and distributing LSD and other illicit drugs "as part of a ring that operated undetected for months" at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming, the Associated Press reported on Thursday. Six were convicted at court-martial, while another deserted for Mexico.
The so-called drug ring, discovered in March 2016 by Air Force investigators, involved airmen from the 90th Missile Wing responsible for overseeing dozens of Minuteman III nuclear missile silos across the northwestern United States that are constantly on alert for incoming threats.
Documents obtained via FOIA "tell a sordid tale of off-duty use of LSD, cocaine and other drugs in 2015 and 2016 by airmen who were supposed to be held to strict behavioral standards because of their role in securing the weapons," according to the Associated Press. One airman told investigators that he "felt paranoia, panic” for hours after taking a hit of acid.
It's the latest embarrassing incident to mar the image of the Air Force's nuclear missile corps after personnel with the 91st Security Forces Group with at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota reportedly lost a belt of rounds for a Mk 19 automatic grenade launcher and an M20 machine gun. On May 23, 91st commander Col. Jason Beers was relieved "due to a loss of trust and confidence after a series of events under the scope of his leadership, including a recent loss of ammunition and weapon."
Rest easy, though! Air Force spokesman, Lt. Col. Uriah L. Orland assured the Associated Press that "there are multiple checks to ensure airmen who report for duty are not under the influence of alcohol or drugs and are able to execute the mission safely, securely and effectively."
Former Marine Commandant Gen. Charles Krulak has issued a statement urging President Donald Trump and members of Congress to oppose pardons for those accused or convicted of war crimes since, he argued, it would "relinquish the United States' moral high ground."
"If President Trump follows through on reports that he will mark Memorial Day by pardoning individuals accused or convicted of war crimes, he will betray these ideals and undermine decades of precedent in American military justice that has contributed to making our country's fighting forces the envy of the world," said Krulak, who served in the Marine Corps for more than three decades before retiring in 1999 as the 31st Commandant.
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President Donald Trump will nominate Barbara Barrett to serve as the next Air Force secretary, the president announced on Tuesday.
"I am pleased to announce my nomination of Barbara Barrett of Arizona, and former Chairman of the Aerospace Corporation, to be the next Secretary of the Air Force," Trump tweeted. "She will be an outstanding Secretary! #FlyFightWin"
The Trump administration is trying to assure Congress that it does not want to start a war with Iran, but some lawmakers who fought in Iraq are not so sure.
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford both briefed Congress on Tuesday about Iran. Shanahan told reporters earlier on Tuesday that the U.S. military buildup in the region has stopped Iran and its proxies from attacking U.S. forces, but the crisis is not yet over.
"We've put on hold the potential for attacks on Americans," Shanahan said. "That doesn't mean that the threats that we've previously identified have gone away. Our prudent response, I think, has given the Iranians time to recalculate. I think our response was a measure of our will and our resolve that we will protect our people and our interests in the region."
U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brian M. Wilbur/Handout via REUTERS
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump warned on Monday Iran would be met with "great force" if it attacked U.S. interests in the Middle East, and government sources said Washington strongly suspects Shi'ite militias with ties to Tehran were behind a rocket attack in Baghdad's Green Zone.
"I think Iran would be making a very big mistake if they did anything," Trump told reporters as he left the White House on Monday evening for an event in Pennsylvania. "If they do something, it will be met with great force but we have no indication that they will."