The Air Force is investigating after marijuana was allegedly found in the above-ground portion of a nuclear missile alert facility at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota Oct. 9, the base said.
In an email Wednesday, 1st Lt. Victoria Palandech, a spokeswoman for the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot, said that the illegal drugs were not found below-ground at the facility, or near a missile operator. Palandech said more information would be provided after the investigation is complete, though she did not say which organization is conducting the investigation.
“We take this matter seriously and will investigate this fully as this is an unacceptable breach of Air Force standards,” Palandech said. “This is not indicative of our airmen or our mission to defend America and deter our adversaries.”
The unofficial Facebook page Air Force amn/nco/snco on Sunday first posted a report that an airman had been caught smoking pot at a missile alert facility.
Minot’s 91st Missile Wing is one of the Air Force’s three wings dedicated to operating, maintaining and securing nuclear-armed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles. Minots ICBMs are located in underground launch facilities across an 8,500 square mile portion of northwest North Dakota, and the 91st has about 1,600 airmen in all.
In another incident in May, two missile maintainers at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming were found to have consumed alcohol while off-duty at a missile alert facility.
And in 2016, F.E. Warren also uncovered a ring of airmen from the 90th Missile Wing that bought, distributed and used the hallucinogen LSD while off-duty.
Stephen Losey is the air warfare reporter for Defense News. He previously covered leadership and personnel issues at Air Force Times, and the Pentagon, special operations and air warfare at Military.com. He has traveled to the Middle East to cover U.S. Air Force operations.