"In 2007, an Air Force crew based in Minot, North Dakota was supposed to load missiles without the nuclear warheads on them onto a B-52 Bomber so the missiles could be transferred to an Air Force Base in Louisiana. The Minot crew did not follow the correct procedure… and accidentally loaded 6 missiles with live nuclear warheads on the plane. The B-52 pilots, clueless about what they were carrying, flew down to Louisiana. They landed at Barksdale Air Force Base and left the 6 live nuclear tipped missiles sitting unguarded on the tarmac for 9 hours until somebody finally realized the missiles were not what they thought they were.”
This incident cost the Air Force Chief of Staff their job and nuclear operations at Minot were suspended.
In March 2013, five years after the terrifying incident, the Minot Air Force Base failed their nuclear safety inspection again. The nuclear missile wing of the base earned three “D” grades.”
In this video Eric Schlosser, author of Command and Control, discusses the Air Force’s performance standards in the safe keeping of our nuclear arsenal.