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.”
But even though the airmen involved were not accused of using drugs while on duty, the risk of diminishing capacity remains alarming given the essential role of the nuclear missile corps — especially with the entire world currently pissed off at the United States.