34…count ’em 34

| January 16, 2014

Ex-PH2 sends us a link to an MSM link which reports that 34 Air Force officers have been removed from their “launch duties” at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana for cheating, or tolerating cheating by others in regards to their proficiency tests. I said 34 like it’s a lot, because yeah, it is a lot.

The cheating scandal is the latest in a series of Air Force nuclear stumbles documented in recent months by The Associated Press, including deliberate violations of safety rules, failures of inspections, breakdowns in training, and evidence that the men and women who operate the missiles from underground command posts are suffering burnout. In October the commander of the nuclear missile force was fired for engaging in embarrassing behavior, including drunkenness, while leading a U.S. delegation to a nuclear exercise in Russia.

That’s going to leave a mark. By the way there were 11 others involved in a drug investigation in the same unit. Of course, you have to remember that the media calls everyone officers in the military, so they might not be all real officers.

Category: Air Force

Comments (26)

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  1. Yeff says:

    Curtis LeMay would’ve had them all shot on the spot. Can we clone him?

  2. streetsweeper says:

    That’ll be one hell of an oopsie daisie for the USAF. Maybe living in gopher holes for days and nights on end caught up with them.

  3. rb325th says:

    Serious leadership crisis is developing in this nation and its military.

  4. trapperfrank says:

    My dad was 1950s thru 60s air force SAC veteran (B-52 Crew) and he worshiped the ground Curtis Lemay walked on. Ya damn skippy we need to clone him. He would probably not survive in the current climate of political correctness that permeates the air force.

  5. Ex-PH2 says:

    I just think this is sad and ridiculous at the same time.

  6. Matt says:

    Ok, please don’t think I am slamming one branch here… But recently (like the last ten years) the Air Force seems to have totally lost its way. The AirForce Academy seems to have way more than its fair share of scandals and controversies. The Nuclear force has had three major kerfuffles in the last three or four years. Then there are the SA problems (not that the AirForce is alone by any stretch of the imagination).

    I have looked at AF regulations and they seem to be uniformly more lax than their Army and Navy equivalents. I also see the comparatively lavish facilities and living arrangements for the AF (apparently in as well as out of theater) and wonder if the organization has developed a sense of entitlement from the top down. Combine that with some difficulty playing well with others (scraping projects of interest to the other branches) and a picture starts to emerge.

    Again, it is hard to criticize another branch and know that I recognize that there are lots of dedicated and self-sacrificing Airmen but the branch seems expensive and a little sick.

  7. SFC D says:

    @4; My dad (LtCol D) was a B-52 crew dog around that same era, and felt that Lemay set policy for God. Lemay would be considered anachronistic today, unfortunately. He got shit done!

  8. ChipNASA says:

    @7…Even though he was a fictional character. LeMay much like
    Gunny Highway in Heartbreak Ridge.


  9. crewchief guy says:


    oh i agree with you. Big AF is squeezing the life out of guard units with great records while aiding AD and guard units that suck (here’s looking at you, DC)

  10. Don H says:

    I like the fact that the Russians were the ones who complained about the general’s drinking problem. Because, you know, if a Russian says you’ve got a drinking problem, you probably do . . .

  11. Txgunner says:

    I agree with #3 this is a symptom of a bigger national problem.

  12. Isnala says:

    Just one more reason we never should have gotten rid of SAC….


  13. Smaj says:

    #3 rb325th is exactly correct.

  14. Biermann says:

    Went to the AF Academy a couple of years ago while my son was there doing a exchange semester from West Point. I was shocked by the lack of discipline some of the AF cadets had. One of the 2nd year cadets in my son’s flight was wearing his flight cap sideways while standing in line to get into the football stadium. When my son asked him to correct his cover, the AF cadet and the others around him all laughed, flashed what looked like gangsta signs and walked away like they were all badass.

  15. Hondo says:

    OK, I’ll be the contrarian here. IMO the excessive influence of LeMay and SAC are primarily responsible for the issues we have in the USAF today.

    LeMay and SAC reoriented the USAF away from all of its other missions (counter-air, ground support, strategic transport – in short, those things that actually, you know, support fighting a war) to pursue the nuclear deterrence option. They also were primarily responsible getting the USAF primary (some would say, “prima donna”) standing among the services during the 1950s and early 1960s regarding missions/prestige/funding.

    Hell, there was even a term used outside of SAC for the effect of the bomber generals on the USAF: “SAC-um-cized”. It was derisive, and indicated the USAF had forgotten it’s actual mission (to fight as part of the US military in a real war).

    IMO, that attitude and mindset persisted until about 10 years ago – yes, well after the fall of the Soviet Union. It took 2 wars for the USAF leadership to lose that attitude. But the loss wasn’t complete, and IMO we still see that today in various attitudes. The recent troubles in the nuke community are IMO the predictable result of that community taking the mission priority it should have had since 1990.

    I say this with sadness as the son of a career USAF NCO assigned to SAC. But it’s the truth as I see it.


  16. OWB says:

    I blame most of the decline in the USAF on McPeak. It really was still a grand service until then. It now seems to be working very hard to surpass all other branches racing in self destruct mode.

  17. Yeff says:

    When I was in the Air Force we only considered people Sacumcized if they were former SAC. They had a habit of saying, “We didn’t do things that way in SAC”, and seemed perplexed when it was pointed out they were no longer in SAC.

    Then, post Desert Storm the Air Force seemed to decide that the traditions the youngest service was developing were mere fads that could be changed on a whim. SAC/TAC/MAC and other commands simply ceased to exist. The Hap Arnold wings were replaced and, really, when you don’t have tradition to fall back on you have nothing.

    Recently, what used to be my old command decided it needed a new slogan because, “Freedom Through Vigilance” is just, SHUT UP! We veterans rose enough stink that they mercifully left it alone. For now.

  18. Club Manager says:

    All armies need heroes. General Lemay was one of ours. He would not have been successful in this current day PC mindset crap with the weak knee “let’s give peace a chance” leadership in Washington. Back then men were men. Now men are married to men. GOD save the U.S.A.

  19. hoosierbeagle says:

    Hondo, tell the B-52 crews shot down over N. Vietnam during the linebacker missions the were prima donnas… This started when Colin Powell got his panties in a wad because Gen Dugan, chief of staff AF, said that the AF would have the war won in 91. Powell couldn’t have that, called Sec Defense Cheney whining. Dugan was fired and replaced with an old TAC dog McPeak and the slide down hill started. Regulation were replaced with instructional pamphlets… and standards began to fall. As for standards of living, yeah they are higher, so what?

  20. FatCircles0311 says:

    Thanks for shifting some heat off us, Airforce.

    – signed the United States Marine Corps

  21. Dennis says:

    When I was on technical school instructor duty in the Air Force, instructors had to score a 95% on some of our certification tests and 100% on others.
    Instructors were tested twice yearly; master instructors were tested once a year. Instructors in training could expect to be tested at least once a month until certified.
    We were tested on each block of instruction and every advanced course in which we were certified. We were also tested, at least once a year, by Stan-Eval. Stan-Eval would choose which tests we’d take; some of us had to be ready to take more than 20 different tests each time.
    One day a buddy of mine scored a 90%. After cancelling my buddy’s birthday, the Colonel decided all instructors would take our tests at least monthly.
    I think it’s high time the Officer Corps holds itself to the same high standards to which it held the instructors.

  22. SFC D says:

    LtCol D always said the primary mission of SAC was to bomb places to rubble then bomb it again till the rubble bounced. The gospel of Lemay.

  23. OWB says:

    @ #19: Glad to hear you say that. My memory of McPeak is anything but flattering. Guess the kindest thing I can say about him is that he was one sick bastard. Of course, he supported sKerry, which only confirmed my already low opinion of him.

  24. Seadog says:

    As a serving member of the USAF from 81-01, I’d have to say the McPeak years were the worst ones. First, he screwed up PACAF, while I was there. Then they turned around and gave him the whole Air Force to screw up.

  25. Hondo says:

    Yeff: I think you’re making my point, amigo. SAC was a world apart from the rest of the USAF (and, except for the Navy’s “boomer” community, pretty much apart from the rest of the US military). They focused on being ready for Armageddon. The rest focused on being ready for real-world combat. Their “we don’t do it that way in SAC” remark was symptomatic of the disconnect.

    hoosierbeagle: I was referring to the USAF as a service and its own opinion of its relative standing among the other services vice individuals, amigo. The B52 crews who were shot down in Vietnam have my respect. They were forced to use inappropriate aircraft in an environment far more deadly than those aircraft were designed to face precisely because those weapons were designed for high-altitude nuclear delivery vice, real-world warfighting – and those were all we had to use at the time. You can thank the bomber generals (e.g., LeMay and others who pushed for and maintained SAC’s force) for that.

    We had best be glad we never actually had to fight against a well-equipped foe during the Cold War. Because of the massive distortions caused by the overwhelming influence of the nuclear deterrence mindset among USAF leadership, many of our Cold War era aircraft simply were not designed to support fighting a real war. We found that out in spades when we had to use them in a real war in Vietnam.

  26. hoosierbeagle says:

    Hondo, meant no disrespect. All the services during the ’50s we nuts with push button war, hence artillery with nuke shells. Worked for a large portion of my career in SAC. In the bad old days at least there were standards, high standards. After the early ’90s that all changed.