Military probing whether cancers linked to nuclear silo work


Sep 12, 2012
I hate reading stories like this, but I’m also no longer surprised by them.

Military probing whether cancers linked to nuclear silo work

WASHINGTON — Nine military officers who had worked decades ago at a nuclear missile base in Montana have been diagnosed with blood cancer and there are "indications" the disease may be linked to their service, according to military briefing slides obtained by The Associated Press. One of the officers has died.

All of the officers, known as missileers, were assigned as many as 25 years ago to Malmstrom Air Force Base, home to a vast field of 150 Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile silos. The nine officers were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, according to a January briefing by U.S. Space Force Lt. Col. Daniel Sebeck.

Missileers ride caged elevators deep underground into a small operations bunker encased in a thick wall of concrete and steel. They remain there sometimes for days, ready to turn the launch keys if ordered to by the president.

"There are indications of a possible association between cancer and missile combat crew service at Malmstrom AFB," Sebeck said in slides presented to his Space Force unit this month. The "disproportionate number of missileers presenting with cancer, specifically lymphoma" was concerning, he said.

Sebeck declined to comment when contacted by email by the AP on Saturday, saying the slides were "predecisional." In the slides, he said the issue was important to the Space Force because as many as 455 former missileers are now serving as Space Force officers, including at least four of the nine identified in the slides.

In a statement to the AP, Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said that "senior leaders are aware of the concerns raised about the possible association of cancer related to missile combat crew members at Malmstrom AFB."
Given the age of some of those silos and underground facilities I’d be surprised if there wasn’t an association between cancer and missile crews.
Not sure if a missile was on-site with the LCC. Each crew controlled 10 scattered missiles, so I wonder if LCC construction is the issue or something in the environment.
Asbestos ?

With the age of those LCCs (and that era) I would think asbestos could have been a likely culprit.
Confined spaces, recycled air, designed and built in the 60's and 70's, hardened against any environmental threat you can think of...Asbestos might be the least of your worries in that place.

And that's before you consider what exposure to that "cancer soup" will do to a body.