A group of Air Force service members dropped acid, snorted coke, and took ecstasy while stationed at a base where they were charged with guarding weapons that can deliver nuclear catastrophe.
Airmen at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming, which houses a third of the U.S.’s 400 Minuteman 3 missiles (ICBMs), distributed and used LSD as part of a drug ring that formed on the base in 2015 and 2016, the Associated Press reported Thursday. Soldiers on the base are supposed to be on alert at all times.
After one service member posted a Snapchat video of himself using drugs, the Air Force conducted an investigation and cracked down on the drug ring in 2016, according to the report. Fourteen service members were disciplined, and six were convicted of LSD distribution or use or both. One even fled to Mexico, though he later turned himself in.
The Air Force claims that the drugs were not used while the service members were on duty.
Here are some quotes from servicemen about LSD that they delivered to a military judge under oath:
“I absolutely just loved altering my mind.”
“Minutes felt like hours, colors seemed more vibrant and clear. In general, I felt more alive.”
“I didn’t know if I was going to die that night or not.”
Airman 1st Class Nickolos A. Harris was reportedly the leader of the drug ring. He testified that he got access to the drugs, with ease, from civilians off the base. He pleaded guilty to distributing LSD on the base and using a variety of other substances, including ecstasy and cocaine.
It’s the latest smear on the U.S.’s ICBM forces, which have a documented history of widespread low morale and service-member drug use. The troops work reportedly in cramped quarters at somewhat remote sites in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, North Dakota, and Nebraska at a job that demands intense vigilance but little activity other than sitting at launch control panels and monitoring screens.
Cover image: A MX or "Peacekeeper" missile sits at the entrance of Warren Air Force Base July 11, 2001 near Cheyenne, Wyoming. (Photo by Michael Smith/Getty Images)