BARKSDALE AFB, LA (KSLA/AP) - The Air Force is investigating 14 members of a nuclear weapons security force for alleged illegal drug activity.
The investigation at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, home of the 90th Missile Wing near Cheyenne, Wyoming, was announced Friday morning by Gen. Robin Rand, the four-star commander of Air Force Global Strike Command headquartered at Barksdale Air Force Base.
"Unfortunately, we are here today to inform you that, currently, there are 14 airmen assigned to the 90th Missile Wing at F.E. Warren Air Force Base under investigation for illegal drug activities while off-duty."
The airmen are junior enlisted assigned to the 90th Security Forces Group, whose duties include protecting the base and surrounding missile complex at F.E. Warren, according to Rand, who also made a point to say that the airmen "are presumed innocent until proven guilty, and that the 90th Missile Wing remains secure."
Rand said the 14 have been removed from duty while the Air Force Office of Special Investigations looks into the case.
While the Associated Press cited defense officials Friday in reporting that the illegal drug activity in some cases included cocaine use, Gen. Rand declined to comment on specifics, citing the ongoing investigation.
Rand also declined to confirm whether there were more arrests expected.
The Global Strike commander did reveal that the investigation began "after an airman became aware of the suspected drug activity and promptly alerted 90th Missile Wing leadership."
"Gang, when credible allegations like these occur, we must pursue that. Period. From day one, every airman serving our Air Force knows that illegal drug use is incompatible with military service. If the allegations at F.E. Warren prove true against any of these 14 airmen, then their acts will reflect a personal failure to meet the standards of our nation demands of our military members."
When the investigation is completed, Gen. Rand said the Office of Special Investigations detachment commander at F.E. Warren "will present the facts to the appropriate commanders in the 90th Missile Wing, who will in close coordination with legal counsel determine appropriate actions for each of these 14 airmen."
The command is responsible for the entire fleet of Minuteman 3 land-based nuclear missiles; one-third of the Minuteman 3 force is operated by the 90th Missile Wing in missile fields in portions of Wyoming, Colorado and Nebraska.