US closes secret tavern at key military base

John Wayne’s saloon was reportedly closed after a newspaper raised questions about alcohol use at NORAD

The US general overseeing Washington’s defenses against nuclear bombers and other air threats has reportedly ordered the closure of a secret saloon after a major media outlet raised questions about daytime drinking within the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).

US Air Force General Glenn VanHerck closed the bar last week and demanded an investigation into how US Air Defense Command (NORAD) officers were allowed to operate a secret drinking bar during business hours. USA Today reported on Wednesday. The newspaper said that the bar known as the John Wayne Saloon – named after a famous American actor known for tough guy roles – is located at Peterson Space Force Base in Colorado and serves its patrons by invitation only.

A John Wayne poster was taped to the bar’s door, and visitors had to enter a keypad code to gain access. “Nearby, lieutenants and pioneers planned future NORAD operations.” USA Today said, citing unidentified officers and civilian employees familiar with the salon. “Also on hand: computers with access to the Pentagon’s secret email system.”

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VanHerck told the newspaper that he confirmed the presence of hard liquor, beer and a refrigerator in a locked office space with a John Wayne sticker inside NORAD headquarters. He also confirmed that the facility had access to “classified networks for planning purposes.”

The NORAD commander added that the presence of alcohol was “certainly a matter of sufficient concern for me to direct a commander-supervised investigation.” VanHerck said the investigation will determine whether alcohol use inside NORAD headquarters endangered U.S. national security.

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) studies have shown that military service is the highest drinking occupation in America. Soldiers consume alcohol 130 days a year on average, and they binge drink 41 times a year, according to one study. analysis From CDC data released in 2019.

The use of alcohol in US military offices is prohibited without special permission. Waivers are sometimes granted for events such as retirement celebrations and holiday parties.

NORAD is responsible for overseeing airspace defenses for both the United States and Canada. U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM), which coordinates the Pentagon’s response to attacks and natural disasters in North America, is also headquartered at Peterson Space Force Base.

VanHerck said he had not heard of any concerns about drinking while working at NORAD before the USA Today investigation. He claimed credit for being “transparent” When the newspaper brought his attention to the secret bar. “I would say to people in the United States and Canada: Trust the orders that defend them every day.” The general said.

Earlier this year, VanHerck fired Northern Command’s chief of operations, US Army Major General Joseph LeStorte, citing “Loss of trust and confidence.” Several officials told USA Today that the ousted general was known for being rude, demanding, and intolerant of alcohol use in the workplac

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