The US Air Force will begin a court-martial in January in the case of a nuclear missile launch officer charged with drug use and obstructing justice following a criminal probe that exposed an exam-cheating scandal involving nearly 100 nuke officers.
According to the Associated Press, Second Lt. Nicole Dalmazzi of the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana is believed to be the first nuclear launch officer, or missileer, charged amid the drug investigation that was made public last January on the same day US Department of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel visited Malmstrom, one of three nuclear-missile land bases in the country.
Dalmazzi was charged with illegal drug use and obstructing a probe by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations for dyeing her hair to "alter the results of potential hair-follicle drug tests," said Josh Aycock, a spokesman at Malmstrom, according to AP. Her court-martial will begin on Jan. 21.
Missileers operate Minuteman 3 missiles, which are armed with nuclear warheads controlled by two missileers on duty during rotating shifts in an underground launch center. AP was unable to reach her for comment.
Dalmazzi’s fellow missileers at Malmstrom oversee 150 of the Air Force’s 450 Minuteman 3 ICBMs. Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota and F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming each operate 150 ICBMs as well.