Cooks saved nuke missile crews from test failure

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Associated Press has learned that failings last spring by nuclear missile operators at an Air Force base in North Dakota were worse than first reported.

Airmen responsible for missile operations at Minot Air Force Base would have failed their portion of a major inspection in March 2013 but managed a "marginal" rating because their poor marks were blended with the better performance of support staff — like cooks and facilities managers. And they got a boost from the base's highly rated training program.

Problems inside the ICBM force at several bases prompted Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in January to order two reviews. A Pentagon team is seeking to define and fix the trouble.

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