Nukewatch Quarterly Spring 2022
By John LaForge
With a U.S. flag imposed over half of Belgium, the insignia (above) of the U.S. Air Force’s 701st Munitions Support Squadron, was mistakenly posted on social media. The 701st maintains twenty or so U.S. B61 hydrogen bombs stationed at Kleine Brogel airbase in Belgium. While the transfer of nuclear weapons to other countries is never officially acknowledged by the United States or their NATO recipients, the insignia graphically boasts that U.S. bombs are part of the Belgian airbase’s arsenal. The “open secret” of U.S. nuclear weapons being stationed at five European countries has often been accidentally revealed, made public in the press, and acknowledged by host country parliamentarians.
– Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, Aug 18, 2021; De Morgen (Antwerp), July 16, 2019, Ann De Boeck, “Finally in black and white: there are American nuclear weapons in Belgium”; The Stimson Center, August 15, 2016, “US Nuclear Weapons in Turkey at Risk of Seizure by Terrorists, Hostile Forces”; The Washington Post, July 19, 2016 , “The U.S. stores nuclear weapons in Turkey. Is that such a good idea?” by Dan Lamothe; “Green Party MEPs arrested in Belgium nuclear weapons protest”, BCC, 20 February 2019; Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Vol. 67, No. 1, online Nov. 27, 2015, pp. 64-73, “U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in Europe, 2011.”
“Within the context of NATO, the United States deploys approximately 150 nuclear weapons in Europe, most notably B61 free-fall bombs, which can be deployed by both US and allied aircraft. These bombs are stored in six American and European bases: Kleine Brogel in Belgium, Büchel in Germany, Aviano and Ghedi-Torre in Italy, Volkel in the Netherlands and Inçirlik in Turkey.” [From the official statement of the NATO Parliament.] (De Morgen).