Earlier in the week, I wrote about the fact that Air Force personnel lost a belt full of ammunition for a grenade launcher near Parshall, North Dakota. Eventually they called off a search for the missing explosives and are now offering a $5,000 reward to anyone that can offer information leading to their recovery.
On the heels of that story comes news reports yesterday that the Minot Air Force Base is now in search of another missing item— more specifically, a M240 machine gun. The 7.62 caliber weapon turned up as being lost during an inventory that was conducted on Wednesday, but all ammunition for it was accounted for.
As was pointed out by Say Anything Blog this week, these aren’t the first problems the Minot Air Force Base has experienced over the years. In 2007, it was the case of missing nuclear warheads. In fact, there’s a Wikipedia page devoted to that incident alone. And the snafu wasn’t without consequence. As a result, 70 airmen were punished and a very blunt statement was made by the Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Major General Richard Newton:
“There has been an erosion of adherence to weapons-handling standards at Minot Air Force Base…”
On the whole, these events don’t reflect well on the base and its personnel. The military is typically known for a strict code of conduct, attention to detail, and discipline. Given the circumstances surrounding these recent events, I’m guessing that those at the Minot Air Force Base may expect a visit from higher authorities. In fact, a command-wide inventory has been ordered as a result of the missing items.
Everyone makes mistakes, but I’d imagine that recognition won’t be good enough for the powers that be, because they believe in accountability too.