LeRoy Collins Commentary 99

Commentary #99
20 October 2007

USAF Press Conference

Dick, from my perspective as a former nuclear submarine weapons officer with signed custody of 49 nuclear warheads (on 16 missiles and one torpedo) during the mid-1960s...

I was intrigued with your son's proximity to this recent issue of an unauthorized move of nuclear weapons to an Air Force Base in Louisiana aboard a B-52. I personally thought his statement was too self-accusing for the USAF, but then I realize these things, once public, become politically-driven.

The public presumes these weapons have to be moved from time-to-time, and it does not expect to be informed for each occasion. Following the Goldsboro NC incident 50 years ago, we know such dangerous weapons can even be accidentally dropped enroute and still not explode, because of an extensive string of safety systems and procedures for U.S. nuclear weapons.

When it comes to nuclear weapons, there is a lot about them the public has NO NEED TO KNOW. But underlying it all, the public has a RIGHT to know they are being handled responsibly, and with flawless accountability. The U.S. has a safety record of almost 70 years in the responsible control of nuclear weapons, but their recent spread elsewhere in the world (without U.S. involvement) is VERY disquieting.

You must be proud your son has been entrusted with such responsibility and accountability for our nation's security.

/s/ LeRoy Collins, Jr.


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