She Put the Space in Aerospace

"Places we don't want stoners to sit," for $500, Alex!

“Places we don’t want stoners to sit,” for $500, Alex!

An Air Force missile launch officer is jammed up with the authorities in a long-running drug probe. She’ll be court-martialed starting 21 January 2015 on drug and obstruction charges.

2nd Lt. Nicole Dalmazzi of the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana, is the first missileer, as launch officers are called, known to have been charged since the drug investigation was made public in January on the same day Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel visited the headquarters of the Air Force’s land-based nuclear missile force.

The twin disclosures of alleged exam cheating and illegal drug use accelerated a wave of embarrassing news about the nuclear missile corps, which has been beset with discipline problems, low morale, leadership lapses and resource shortages. Last month Hagel announced plans for top-to-bottom changes in how the force is managed and operated. Ten days later he resigned, although Air Force officials say they are confident the reforms will move ahead.

Dalmazzi was charged with illegal drug use and obstructing the Air Force Office of Special Investigations probe by dyeing her hair to “alter the results of potential hair-follicle drug tests,” according to Josh Aycock, a spokesman at Malmstrom. He would not elaborate on her alleged actions or the tests. He said her court-martial was scheduled for Jan. 21.

Efforts to reach Dalmazzi for comment Tuesday were unsuccessful. As a missileer she is trained to operate the Minuteman 3 missile, which is armed with a nuclear warhead and stands ready for launch on short notice from an underground silo that is electronically linked to a launch control center, also underground, where two missileers are on duty around the clock.

Because of the sensitive nature of the job, with its many classified procedures and potential for costly mistakes, any allegation of drug use by missileers is concerning. A RAND Corp. report last year on workplace stresses for missileers and others in the nuclear missile corps found some suffering “burnout.” It also found an elevated rate of behavioral issues, including domestic violence.

via Air Force drug probe snares 1st nuke missileer – Yahoo News.

The Air Force takes a dim institutional view of drug and alcohol issues in the nuclear force. Indeed, all services maintain a rigid Personnel Reliability Program that pulls service members from nuclear duties any time their health, well-being, or emotional state is in question. Being on PRP is a huge pain in the neck, but the powers that be consider it a necessary one.

Young Lieutenant Dalmazzi appears to be the first of three accused drug-using missileers to stand trial. A number of other missileers were cleared of drug involvement, but charged with cheating on proficiency exams. The investigation began, as they so often do, with cell phone data on another base.

Of four missileers who were subjects of the drug investigation, three were at Malmstrom and one at F.E. Warren. The investigation began in August 2013 at Edwards Air Force Base in California. When investigators examined the cellphones of two airmen at Edwards they found text messages to or from 11 other Air Force officers at several other air bases.

The text messages detailed “specific illegal drug use that included synthetic drugs, ecstasy and amphetamines,” according to a report released in March that looked mainly at missileers’ exam cheating but also traced a connection between the drug and cheating issues.

Imagine that. “A connection between the drug and cheating issues.” It’s almost like integrity was a single standard, and any violation of that standard bespoke further violations. No doubt some Air Force officers find that an achingly old-fashioned idea.

And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, with fire and brimstone return.

7 thoughts on “She Put the Space in Aerospace

  1. WiseCaveOwl

    “potential for costly mistakes”. Jaw drops. She should take some time off. Visit north-coastal Australia. Stand next to edge of salt-water pond

  2. Bill K

    Imagine how much easier the .gov’s job is going to be with millenials and following, all suffering from smartphone addiction, checking their phones an average of 150x per day and rising…

    Echelon, you paying attention?

    1. TRX

      The Israel Defence Force has had problems with cellphone use by deployed troops. Apparently “turn out for inspection and confiscation” wasn’t an option for some reason.

      SIGINT, people. Even without being able to decode the data stream, the phone still emits a nice fat signal that can be seen and triangulated by equipment that’s well within the “Boy’s Own Electrical Experiment” technical level.

      1. Y.

        SIGINT, people. Even without being able to decode the data stream, the phone still emits a nice fat signal that can be seen and triangulated by equipment that’s well within the “Boy’s Own Electrical Experiment” technical level.

        Only every 15 minutes or so. And that a brief burp.

        It’d probably take ages to triangulate on an inactive but connected GSM phone. Also, I don’t think phones are that big of a problem, unless they talk crap to them. I mean, Arabs triangulating cell phones? Seems way above their competence level.

  3. TRX

    > dyeing her hair to “alter the results of potential hair-follicle drug tests,”

    Uh… that sounds like a case of “doing exactly and only what we were trained”. Training says “pull three hairs from scalp”, so hair anywhere else on the body isn’t even considered.

  4. Aesop

    I am amazed and awed (and ever-so-slightly encouraged) that the Air Farce has elected to make an example of an (uber-)protected minority.

    In the past, female USAF Lts telling their B-52 wing commander Cols to Eff Off about their extra-marital cavortings with fellow officers was accepted as normal human behavior by the clueless idiots in the media, and not a few pro-Amazon congresspersons. If she’d just been doing porn with her colleagues on duty, she’d be getting a pass on this, I’m certain. Doubly so if it was girl-girl.

    As further details about her bio are not forthcoming, I can only presume from her initial commissioned posting that she was not one of the bright shining examples of the Colorado Springs School For Boys, and somehow not physically perfect enough to entrust with a stick and rudder pedals, and thus must needs be some hapless ROTC commissionee, culture-shocked by ending up in a fluorescent-lit hole in the ground for entire days at a time. If she’s prior enlisted, given the USAF mindset on that, she should probably just go out and hang herself now. Or make arrangements with certain men’s magazines for the clothes-free pictorial. She’s going to need that money, and TPTB can only kick her out once.

    Definitionally, anyone so stupid that their text messages hung them is clearly not bright enough to be any sort of military officer (at least in this hemisphere), and certainly not one to be entrusted with a nuclear missile launch key.

    But 80-20 she’s got a new TSA job within minutes of application, if not a gig as a columnist on military affairs for HuffPo or one of the poncier liberal rags. (Rolling Stone will probably have her career headhunter on speed dial.) Christmas is coming; maybe she gets both gigs.

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