Talk about a bad week.
Frankly, I’m really glad I’m not an airman stationed at Minot Air Force Base right about now. You see, last week, we reported about the base losing a case of grenades for the Mark 19 grenade launcher. This, of course, is something we can all agree would be classified as a “bad thing.”
But the problems at Minot go a bit deeper.
You see, in addition to the ammo can full of grenades, they also lost a machine gun. Yes, a real machine gun.
The same Air Force unit that lost grenades is now missing a machine gun.
An M240 machine gun was discovered missing on May 16 during a standard weapons inventory at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, said Lt. Col. Jamie Humphries, a spokesman for the 5th Bomb Wing. The machine gun belongs to the 91st Missile Wing security forces.
“The 5th Bomb Wing and 91st Missile Wing immediately began a search of their weapons inventories and opened an investigation with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations,” Humphries told Task & Purpose in an email. “This investigation is ongoing and more information will be provided as it becomes available.”
This happened about two weeks after the grenades were lost, which is not making the Air Force look good at all.
Air Force Global Strike Command has ordered airmen to do a complete and total weapon inventory, which at this point may find out that the entire base is missing or something. Frankly, not much would surprise me, even if they found Jimmy Hoffa.
The 91st Missile Wing security forces are tasked with protecting at least part of our nuclear arsenal, though right now I think someone with the wing will be doing well to simply protect their posterior.
Unfortunately, problems like this tend to be symptoms of something deeper. Something isn’t right up in Minot, and the Air Force needs to check it out. Then again, I wouldn’t be surprised if Gen. David L. Goldfein, the Air Force Chief of Staff, is already working on that.
Someone is getting relieved with cause. Their career is over, and they’ll be very fortunate if that’s the worst that happens.
A case of explosives and a fully automatic weapon are missing. These are among the most tightly controlled items in the United States military’s inventory for a reason. If someone is lucky, they’re just misplaced somewhere in a warehouse or something, but I somehow doubt anyone is that lucky.
Instead, I suspect that charges will be coming against someone. Military careers are about to be over, and someone will be spending some quality time in a very small room decorated with bars thinking about their life choices. That’s just a hunch, of course, but a somewhat educated one.
Regardless, though, let’s just hope these weapons are recoverable and not in the hands of someone who will use them for horrible purposes. While the Mark 19 ammo might only run in a Mark 19, the M240 uses 7.62. That’s pretty easy to get your hands on, and no one wants to see a weapon like that in the wrong hands.