ICBM Crew Punished

Three members of a Minuteman III ICBM launch crew assigned to the 91st Missile Wing at Minot AFB, N.D., who fell asleep July 12 in a crew rest area while in possession of classified launch code devices have been decertified from missile operations, received written reprimands, and will forgo part of their pay for two months. CNN reported Aug, 29 that the punishment was doled out to a captain and two first lieutenants under an Article 15 procedure that allows for discipline without court action, citing a base spokeswoman. Six additional officers, including two squadron commanders, have been sanctioned for their roles in the incident, and disciplinary letters are in their files, according to CNN. The Air Force disclosed the incident on July 24. The service said at the time the launch codes remained secure in locked containers whose combinations were known only to the crew and that the codes had been superseded and were unusable, so there was no risk to national security. In a related incident, the Associated Press reported Aug. 28 that the Air Force is investigating two additional officers of the wing who in 2005 allegedly took home classified components used in the Minuteman III launch control centers that they said they had destroyed. These small devices, now obsolete, were used to detect equipment tampering, the news service reported.