Twice in the last seven or eight days there have been protesters outside the base’s main gate. Having paid their $50 for a ride on the Green Tortoise bus from San Francisco, they stood and displayed large banners stating, “End nuclear weapons testing,” and, “PEACE.” I do not harbor any bad feelings toward those who would express their opinions openly – after all, freedom of speech is one of the cherished privileges I serve to protect. However, I do take exception at the fact that they are either ill informed or fair weather protesters. Either of which is entirely unacceptable. If you believe strongly enough in something to organize an entire movement against it then you should make darn sure you get your facts straight.
The United States has not tested (detonated) a nuclear weapon since 1993. On the other hand, North Korea claimed to have tested nuclear bomb as recently as May 2009. So if you would really like to protest nuclear weapons testing, you could secure passage to their happy corner of the Earth and bombard Kim Jong II with signs that have snappy sayings like, “Give up Nukes… you Pukes,” or “Stop trying to destroy the world… think of the kittens!.” Yep, that would probably do the trick.
Finally, Vandenberg Air Force Base does not have a nuclear mission. I repeat, there are no nuclear weapons at VAFB. If you would like to protest land-based nuclear weapons, please get out your gas card and cold weather gear and ride the Green Tortoise out to Great Falls, Montana, Cheyenne Wyoming, or better yet, Minot North Dakota. For the full experience, you should go in January or February when you can stand outside the gate in the negative 50 degree Fahrenheit weather waving “PEACE” signs at the Airmen traveling out to the missile complex for another 1-3 day tour at a remote Missile Alert Facility. Their constant readiness serves as a deterrent to those who might use weapons of mass destruction against the U.S., our friends or allies.
Any protesters reading this might also be interested to learn that since 1958 “Peace is our Profession” has been the official motto of the nuclear deterrent force. On the other hand, perhaps you already know that and the “PEACE” sign is actually in support of our mission and serves as a thank you, not a protest. Well, in that case. Thanks – it’s good to be appreciated.