Death Wears Bunny Slippers


Unofficial Patch for the 91st Missile Wing Minot AFB

On 30 August 2007, a B-52 took off from Minot AFB carrying six cruise missiles armed with W-80 nuclear warheads to Barksdale AFB across the country in Louisiana. No base personnel nor the crew knew the nuclear weapons were aboard.  An investigation found that this was an isolated incident and that only a few people had information on the whereabouts of the missiles.

In June 2008. Secretary of Defense Gates fired the Air Force secretary, Michael W. Wynne, and the service’s chief of staff, Gen. T. Michael Moseley, were forced to resign after an investigation into the W-80 warhead incident.

In July 2008, three officers in the 91st fell asleep in their bunny slippers while in possession of classified components containing superceded missile launch codes for Minuteman III ICBMs. The two lieutenants and one captain received Article 15s.

On 31 July 2008, a 91st Missile Wing semi-trailer overturned while carrying a rocket booster for an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile. The Air Force spent about $5.6 million  to recover the booster rocket. The cause of the accident was judged to be  “driver and safety observer error.”  Again, no mention of bunny slippers, but those little pink ears could get stuck under one of the pedals, and cause a “driver and safety” error.

On 29 August, 2008, the Air Force announced Thursday that two officers who worked at Minot AFB in North Dakota have been taken off the job while the military investigates allegations that they took home classified components used in underground launch control centers.

The officers were supposed to have destroyed the two devices and had signed documents stating that they had, said Maj. Laurie A. Arellano, an Air Force spokeswoman. The Band-Aid-size devices, now obsolete, were used on equipment inside the launch center to detect equipment tampering.

An airman in the 91st also left a safe open in the summer of 2008 for an entire night. The safe contained missile operation procedures. Officials found nothing was removed.

On 31 August 2009, a giant bug caused a 91st Missile Wing truck carrying rocket engine parts for intercontinental ballistic missiles to overturn outside Minot. The “large insect” landed on the driver’s back, and the truck tipped over as the driver tried to remove the insect, according to the report.  The overturned semi-trailer carried rocket engine parts for ICBMs and two 14 gallon tanks of liquid rocket fuel.  It was not clear if the driver was wearing bunny slippers.

Finally, in March of 2013, the unit received what is essentially a “D” on one of the 22 elements of an inspection.

On  27 March 2013, Maj. Gen. Roger Burg, commander of the 20th Air Force, flew to Minot to remove Col. Christopher Ayres from command. Burg also fired Col. Lyman Faith, 91st Maintenance Group commander, and Lt. Col. Andrew Healy, 91st Missile Maintenance Squadron commander.


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