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Busy Luggage (or how I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb)

In my 2nd or 3rd year at Loring, I was told to go to Munitions Control for 6 months.  The Munitions Control room directed, coordinated, planned and scheduled all items associated with weapons at Loring.  This included our full range of nuclear weapons.

Every year there were special "practice" drop's of weapons, with the Short Range Attack Missile's test launch called "Bullet Blitz", and the test drop of gravity nuclear bombs called "Busy Luggage".  

While I was on duty one day, we had a scheduled Busy Luggage mission, involving one B-52 carrying two BDU (Bomb Dummy Units) of a specific nuclear weapon type.  These looked very similar to a real nuke, except (for one important difference) there was no nuclear or explosives in the bomb.  

At that time, we had a big status display board that would have little magnetic labels of each "Clip" (the little trailer that carried the bombs) displayed on the board as to it's name and location.  

The "Busy Luggage" clip was visually unique in that it only had two bombs on it, whereas normally there would be 4.  So, the night before, a workorder was made up, with the serial numbers of the Bomb Dummy Units, and given to our handler crews.

They would go out to the structure, open the doors, and find the clip (we would've told them it's in the right rear corner, for instance), and verified the serial numbers, then hooked up and taken it to the awaiting bomber.

I should mention that since there was just a very small explosive charge in the bomb, there would be no need for the full security of a weapons convoy.  A single LE (Law Enforcement) vehicle would escort the load out to the fliteline.

That morning I coordinated the movement, and after the crew hooked up to the clip, I notified LE's to meet them at the Weapons Storage Area gate, and escort them to the fliteline.  Since this was not a high security movement, there was no checking in every 30 seconds or so like we would do on a "real" movement.

About 3 mins after they left the gate and were on their way to the fliteline, I received a frantic call from the guard shack at the WSA.  It was one of the tech's who worked on the weapons, and he was all excited.

"What are they pulling live weapons out of the WSA without a convoy for?" he yelled at me over the phone.  I told him not to worry, it was the Busy Luggage clip and only needed the LE escort.

"That's no Busy Luggage clip" he yelled.  "That's a REAL clip of nukes!".  He confirmed for me that the clip they pulled out of the WSA with had FOUR bombs, and the Busy Luggage clip was supposed to only have TWO bombs.

Now things got heated up real fast.  I contacted the crew and told them to stop where they were and take a defense position around the truck.  I contacted the Security Forces at the gate and told them what happened and to immediately respond to the location.  I also notified the MMS commander, who came in mad and confused.

We got the weapons turned around and safely put back to bed.  But now, questions needed answering.  The Wing Commander called a special meeting and I had to brief what I knew.  What had happened was this:  The Handler crew, being in a hurry and preoccupied with other thoughts, went to the correct structure, and hooked up to the clip in the corner; however, they DID NOT check the Serial Numbers, and DID NOT see there were 4 bombs instead of 2.  The LE's didn't know anything, so they were merrily escorting live nuclear weapons out to the flight line.  We may assume there would've been a very small possibility that the Crew Chief might have accepted the weapon's from the handling crew, and maybe the air crew would've accepted them too.  (This was a pretty routine mission).  Well, if everything worked according to FUBAR, that would've been some fireworks show out in the desert.

Needless to say, after my briefing, a secret meeting was held and it was determined that the event...never happened.  No one was told outside the base, and as far as I know, it disappeared into the ether...until today...

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