Under the Microscope

This week, the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot AFB, N.D., will undergo a nuclear surety inspection to see if its ability to carry out the nuclear weapons mission with its B-52H bombers passes muster. Minot’s KXMC TV news reported Aug 9 that the week-long inspection by Air Force and Defense Threat Reduction Agency officials is a re-test of wing which failed its previous inspection in May due to some problems with security and logistics movement performance. The wing has been under increased scrutiny since its involvement in the unauthorized transfer of six cruise missile nuclear warheads from Minot to Barksdale AFB, La., last August. The incident led to the unit temporarily losing its nuclear certification until March 2008. On the eve of the inspection, three of Minot’s B-52s and 140 of its airmen returned from their two-week participation in Red Flag training exercise 08-03 at Nellis AFB, Nev. “Our airmen performed exceptionally well,” said Col. Joel Westa, 5th BW commander. (Includes Minot report by A1C Wesley Wright)