Metro-East News

5 more airmen added to drug probe at Air Force nuclear missile base

Mike Fitzgerald
Mike Fitzgerald

Five more airmen are under investigation for alleged drug activity at a nuclear missile base in Wyoming, bringing the total to 19 and expanding the probe beyond the security forces group initially implicated, the Air Force said Wednesday, according to Air Force Times.

An Air Force spokesman, Capt. Mark A. Graff, said that two of the accused have been convicted in courts-martial proceedings held since the investigation was first disclosed in March. The trials were not previously announced. Graff said the two convicted individuals, whose names were not disclosed, have been sentenced and are serving time in confinement. He says that once they have served their sentences they will be considered for removal from the Air Force.

Graff did not say when or how the number of airmen under investigation was expanded from 14 airmen to 19. All are members of the 90th Missile Wing at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, which operates 150 Minuteman 3 nuclear missiles.

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A provision that would require women to register for the military draft alongside men for the first time in American history was included as part of the massive 2017 National Defense Authorization Act that passed the Senate handily on Tuesday with an 85-13 vote.

The language requiring the draft for women was added in committee and received little debate on the Senate floor, but has created a firestorm of controversy on and off Capitol Hill. It comes as the military services welcome women into previously closed ground combat units in keeping with a mandate from Defense Secretary Ash Carter given late last year.

On Feb. 2, a panel of top military leaders including Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller, and Navy Secretary Ray Mabusall told the Senate Armed Services Committee they supported drafting men and women in light of the changes to combat assignments.

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TOKYO — The U.S. Navy in Japan has eased a ban on drinking imposed after an American sailor was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving in Okinawa, according to the Associated Press.

U.S. Naval Forces Japan said in a statement Friday that sailors are now allowed to drink on base as well as at their off-base houses. Other drinking off-base is still prohibited.

The restrictions were imposed on June 6 after the sailor drove the wrong way on a freeway and hit two other vehicles, injuring two people in the other cars.

The incident further fueled anti-U.S. base sentiment on the southern Japanese island that is home to about half the 50,000 American troops based in Japan.

Separately, a U.S. military contractor in Okinawa has been arrested on suspicion of raping and killing a woman.

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CIA Director John Brennan predicted Thursday that a resilient Islamic State, also known as ISIS and ISIL, will retain its ability to launch and inspire attacks on the U.S. and the West despite the “accelerated” efforts of the Pentagon to inflict a battlefield defeat on the terror group, according to Military.com.

“Unfortunately, despite all our progress against ISIL on the battlefield and in the financial realm, our efforts have not reduced the group's terrorism capability and global reach,” Brennan said, using another acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

“In fact, as the pressure mounts on ISIL, we judge that it will intensify its global terror campaign to maintain its dominance of the global terrorism agenda,” he said.

Brennan's pessimistic tone in prepared remarks for testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee contrasted with the upbeat assessments from Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and the White House that portrayed ISIS as a hollowed out organization losing ground in Iraq and Syria whose lasting defeat was inevitable.

Mike Fitzgerald: 618-239-2533, @MikeFitz3000

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