“Mishap” at Colo. silo dam­aged nuke mis­sile

The Denver Post - - DENVER & THE WEST - By The As­so­ci­ated Press by the 90th Mis­sile Wing at F.E. War­ren Air Force Base in Wy­oming. The Air Force’s brief sum­mary of the Juliet-07 mishap said the Min­ute­man 3 mis­sile “be­came non-op­er­a­tional” dur­ing a di­ag­nos­tic test on the evening of May 16, 2014

Er­rors by three air­men trou­bleshoot­ing a nu­clear mis­sile in its north­east­ern Colorado launch silo in 2014 trig­gered a “mishap” that dam­aged the mis­sile, prompt­ing the Air Force to strip the air­men of their nu­clear cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and qui­etly launch an ac­ci­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tion, of­fi­cials said Fri­day.

In a state­ment re­leased to The As­so­ci­ated Press, the Air Force de­clined to pro­vide key ad­di­tional de­tails or a copy of the re­port pro­duced in Novem­ber by the Ac­ci­dent In­ves­ti­ga­tion Board, say­ing the in­for­ma­tion was clas­si­fied and too sen­si­tive to be made pub­lic.

Un­der the Air Force’s reg­u­la­tions, Ac­ci­dent In­ves­ti­ga­tion Board re­ports are sup­posed to be made pub­lic. The Air Force did re­lease a brief sum­mary to the AP af­ter it re­peat­edly sought an­swers for more than a year. The sum­mary said the full re­port was clas­si­fied on Nov. 9, 2015, by Gen. Robin Rand, who took over as com­man­der of Air Force Global Strike Com­mand in July 2015.

The Air Force said the ac­ci­dent caused no in­juries and posed no risk to pub­lic safety.

The dam­aged mis­sile was re­moved from its un­der­ground silo, which is des­ig­nated Juliet-07 and si­t­u­ated among wheat fields and wind tur­bines about 9 miles west of Peetz. The silo, one of 10 in a clus­ter, or flight, that strad­dles the Colorado-Ne­braska state line, is con­trolled by launch of­fi­cers of the 320th Mis­sile Squadron and ad­min­is­tered morn­ing a “mishap crew” chief, who was not iden­ti­fied, “did not cor­rectly ad­here to tech­ni­cal guid­ance” dur­ing trou­bleshoot­ing ef­forts, “sub­se­quently dam­ag­ing the mis­sile.”

The mishap caused an es­ti­mated $1.8 mil­lion dam­age, the Air Force said.

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