Monday Sep 10, 2007 17:38:42 EDT
On Sept. 14, flight lines will be very quiet at Air Combat Command bases.
The entire command — about 100,000 active-duty airmen — is standing down training flights and many other operations as part of a command-wide safety day.
Command boss Gen. Ronald Keys ordered the Sept. 14 safety standdown in the wake of the Aug. 30 nuclear incident at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., in which six cruise missiles armed with nuclear warheads were loaded onto a B-52H and then flown to Barksdale Air Force Base, La., without anyone on the ground or bomber realizing the nuclear weapons were on the plane. It was not until the B-52H was parked at Barksdale that ground crews discovered the cruise missiles were carrying real warheads.
Command spokesman Maj. Tom Crosson said wing commanders would determine how their units review operations and safety procedures and checklists.
Just how serious Keys takes the lapse of regulations at Minot is reflected in the fact that the safety stand-down is the first commandwide safety day in recent memory. In the past, the command has singled out specific types of aircraft for safety days and in 1997 the Department of Defense held a departmentwide safety review day.