Wyoming – USAF Security Forces In Charge of US Missiles Took LSD Off Duty
Cheyenne, WY – F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming is home to the USAF 90th Missile Wing. In 2016, a drug ring was discovered that went undetected for some time, and only cracked after one airman posted something on social media that led authorities to them. The frightening part? They were USAF Security Forces charged with guarding about 1/3 of our ballistic missiles.
According to an article in Stars and Stripes on May 24, the Associated Press received documents that showed certain members of the security force bought, distributed, and used LSD and certain other hallucinogenic drugs while off duty.
There were 14 airman disciplined, and six of those were convicted of LSD use and/or distribution. None of them were accused of using LSD on duty.
Why is this a big deal? 1) LSD is illegal in the United States and 2) it can have some nasty side effects that very well could have affected the airmen’s ability to do their jobs not just short term, but long term as well.
The Stripes article stated:
The AP obtained transcripts of seven courts martial proceedings and related documents through Freedom of Information Act requests over the past two years. They provide vivid descriptions of LSD trips.
“I’m dying!” one airman is quoted as exclaiming, followed by “When is this going to end?” during a “bad trip” on LSD in February 2016 at a state park about 20 miles (32 kilometers) from F.E. Warren. A portion of that episode was video-recorded by one member of the group; a transcript of the audio was included in court records.
“I felt paranoia, panic,” for hours after taking LSD, Airman 1st Class Tommy N. Ashworth said under oath at his court martial. He confessed to using LSD three times while off duty. The first time, in the summer of 2015, shook him up. “I didn’t know if I was going to die that night or not,” he said as a witness at another airman’s drug trial.
Others said they enjoyed the drug.
“Minutes felt like hours, colors seemed more vibrant and clear,” Airman Basic Kyle S. Morrison testified. “In general, I felt more alive.” He became an informant for investigators and was sentenced to five months confinement, 15 days of hard labor and loss of $5,200 in pay.
The leader of the drug ring was reportedly Airman 1st Class Nickolos A. Harris, who had set out specific rules for the airmen using LSD. One of those rules was “no social media.” But in March of 2016, one airman posted a video on Snapchat of him smoking Marijuana, which kicked off the hunt for drug users. Airman 1st Class Devin R. Hagarty actually deserted to Mexico over it, but turned himself in later. He was sentenced to 13 months in a military jail for desertion.
D-lysergic acid diethylamide, or “acid” is a hallucinogenic drug that affects the serotonin levels in the brain.
It can produce sensations, such as “visual hallucinations, amplification of sensations like sounds and smells, distorted sense of time, blending of senses, such as “seeing” sounds or “hearing” colors, sensation of the mind leaving the body, impulsive behavior, quickly shifting emotions, mystical or religious sensations.” The biggest problem is in the other side affects:
- Severe anxiety.
- Panic attacks.
- Rapidly changing emotions.
- Feeling of detachment from one’s own mind and body.
- Losing a grip on reality.
- Fear of dying.
- Aggressive or violent behaviors.
- Suicidal thoughts.
It can also produce what psychologists call “Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD)” if they have been using the hallucinogen or along with other drugs for a period of time.
Even though the airmen were not accused of doing LSD on duty, the after effects could have been lethal had there been an attack that required the use of the ballistic missiles they were sworn to protect.