WASHINGTON, D.C. – Military enthusiasts visiting the nation’s capital for President Donald Trump’s upcoming military parade on November 10th will have a rare opportunity to catch a glimpse of elements of America’s strategic nuclear weapons arsenal, The Washington Examiner reported on Friday.
“The White House has asked us to make this a top priority,” Pentagon spokesperson Colonel Rob Manning told The Examiner. Col. Manning said the Department of Defense is working closely with officials in at least nine states to ensure that the arduous task of transporting six nuclear armed Minuteman III ICBMs from an Air Force installation in North Dakota to Washington, D.C. is done in a safe and efficient manner. “From a logistical standpoint, this is something which has never been done before,” Manning admitted.
“There was some back-and-forth over the inherent dangers of equipping the missiles with live nuclear warheads – especially for the purpose of a parade,” a senior Pentagon official told Real News Right Now, continuing, “But in the end, he’s the President of the United States and this is what he wants.” The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press, said each of the six Minuteman III ICBMs will be equipped with three W62 thermonuclear warheads. “A single warhead has a yield of about 170 kilotons,” the official explained. “So, essentially we’re looking at enough ordnance in downtown D.C. to level the entire Eastern seaboard.”
The Minuteman ICBMs are being transported using the Air Force’s specialized Transporter Erector Loader (TEL) trucks and will begin their 1,642 mile journey from Minot Air Force Base to Joint Base Andrews located just outside of Washington, D.C. in a matter of days. “Upon arrival, the missiles will be loaded onto six custom-built tractor trailers designed specifically for the parade,” a senior U.S. official involved in the parade’s planning told NBC News. At the request of President Trump, four of the ICBMs have been stenciled with the letters M-A-G-A. “The remaining missiles will be draped in ‘Trump 2020’ banners superimposed over the American flag,” the official explained, adding that attendees can expect to see the ICBMs at the forefront of the parade.
President Trump, who has described himself as a “lifelong friend” of the U.S. military, first floated the idea of hosting a military parade in Washington, D.C. after attending France’s annual Bastille Day parade alongside French president Emmanuel Macron last year. “We’re going to have to try and top it,” Trump later told reporters, adding that he found it peculiar that France would even have a military parade “considering they were so willing to surrender to the Nazis” during World War II.