Minot nuke crew weaknesses worse than reported

Associated Press
FILE - This undated handout photo provided by the National Park Service shows the inside of the deactivated Delta Nine Launch Facility near Wall, S.D., that is now open to the public. Failings exposed last spring at an Air Force nuclear missile base, described by one officer as “rot” in the ranks, were even worse than originally reported, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press. All the staff involved with missile operation at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., passed an inspection with a “marginal” rating, the equivalent of a D in school _ and that was only because of good marks received by people like cooks or facilities managers. The men and women entrusted with launch keys to 150 Minuteman 3 intercontinental ballistic missiles would have flunked. (AP Photo/National Park Service, File)
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Documents obtained by The Associated Press show that failings exposed last spring at an Air Force nuclear missile base were worse than originally reported.

Those responsible for missile operations at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., passed an inspection in March 2013 with a "marginal" rating. But that was only because of good marks received by cooks and other support staff. Launch officers entrusted with keys to 150 Minuteman 3 missiles did poorly and would have flunked the inspection.

The documents also hint at the makings of an exam-cheating problem among launch crews at Minot months before allegations of widespread cheating erupted in January at a companion nuclear base in Montana.

The Air Force documents were released to a group called Speak Truth to Power, which shared them with the AP.

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