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Air Force says 34 missile officers implicated in cheating scandal

Gen. Mark Welsh, Air Force chief of staff, testified on Capitol Hill in Washington in November.

Jacquelyn Martin/AP File

Gen. Mark Welsh, Air Force chief of staff, testified on Capitol Hill in Washington in November.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Air Force says 34 nuclear missile launch officers have been implicated in a cheating scandal and have been stripped of their certification in what is believed to be the largest such breach of integrity in the nuclear force.

Some of the officers apparently texted to each other the answers to a monthly test on their knowledge of how to operate the missiles. Others may have known about it but did not report it.

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The cheating was discovered during a drug investigation that involves 11 Air Force officers across six bases in the US and England.

Of the three missile launch officers involved in the drug scandal, two are at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana and one is at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming. The two at Malmstrom are among those implicated in the cheating scandal.

It’s the latest controversy involving the service members who maintain and operate the nation’s 450 nuclear missiles.

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