“Mishap” at Colo. silo damaged nuke missile
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.