ASSOCIATION OF AIR FORCE MISSILEERS
“While China has focused on creating the regional conventional forces it believes it needs, China is also dramatically expanding its nuclear force and military space capabilities. We cannot sustain deterrence by standing still.” Frank Kendall, SECAF, 5 September 2023 letter to all Airmen and Guardians
2024 AAFM National Meeting Registration is open:
Registration for our 2024 National Meeting is now active on our website. Click here to register. We will be meeting in Buellton, CA 23-27 October 2024 at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott. Events include a winery tour (limited to 100), a Vandenberg tour, our Membership meeting, and the Hall of Fame Dinner with Keynote speaker. Check out our website for more details. Speakers will be announced as they are confirmed.
War Fighters in Action at Minot AFB:
The 91st MW and 5th BW commanders held an online joint panel discussion on Oct 30 as part of the “Air & Space Warfighters in Action” series. The 91st MW/CC Col. Kenneth C. McGhee and 5th BW/CC Col. Daniel S. Hoadley provided their unique insights of the only USAF base supporting two legs of the Triad.
Col. McGhee stated that Sentinel is not slated to be at Minot AFB until 2027. Until then, Minuteman will have to be sustained and launch ready through the entire transition to Sentinel. This means Minuteman certified maintenance teams; security forces and combat crews will be needed until the Sentinel transition is complete. As Sentinel stands up, Minuteman will still be the backbone of deterrence.
Col McGhee discussed the impact of extended alert tours on our Airmen and quality of life. Crew tours are seven days long. Families with children have a hard time finding childcare at a reasonable price. This also impacts the 5th BW when they pack up around 150 people and deploy them. The need for upgraded childcare facilities is needed Air Force wide! Family readiness means combat readiness!
Airmen who have pets that require expensive kenneling are also impacted. Commanders have started a program where airmen help other airmen when they are on alert or deployed. They take care of families and pets in their homes.
The following are some Golden Nuggets from Col McGhee:
- In reply to a question on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) on missile operations. "We are upgrading our UAS counter capabilities and exercising those capabilities”.
- “The dramatic rise in Chinese ICBM capabilities is impressive. ICBMs will deter that capability as well as the other legs of the Triad and will be needed in the future”.
- “The future Nuclear Command and Control Systems will require an un-hackable, very secure capacity. Sentinel’s digital capacity will also leverage cyber capability and save manpower”.
- “The majority of our Airmen in the missile field are first term Airmen, challenged with great responsibility and are doing great work.”
Want to know More? Minot Wing Commanders
Cancer Study Update:
AAFM strongly supports the efforts of the Torchlight Initiative which continues to lead the way in representing Missileers concerns and interests regarding toxic exposures within the missile community. AAFM continues to post their information on our website but for a direct link for their latest talking papers, click here: Resources - Torchlight Initiative.
As you will read on their website, the Torchlight Initiative is a non-government organization composed of current and former ICBM community members and their families. Their mission is to address health issues of vital interest to the ICBM community, specifically, to address the higher rates of cancer and associated disorders amongst those that operated, maintained, supported, or protected ICBM delivery systems. Their goal is to ensure the current and future ICBM environment is safe for all current and future personnel while continuing to support the vital deterrent capability inherent in the ICBM mission. They advocate for this community and ensure former and current community members receive education, health monitoring, health care, and when appropriate, VA claim service connection.
ICBM PCB Cancer Cleanup Moves Forward:
Want to know more? PCB ICBM Cleanup Moves Forward
Sentinel ICBM Program Status Check.
A Government Accountability Office Report stated “Initial capability for the LGM-35A Sentinel ICBM is now slated for April to June 2030--a year later than the May 2029 date. Sentinel is behind schedule due to staffing shortfalls, delays with clearance processing, and classified information technology infrastructure challenges. Additionally, the program is experiencing supply chain disruptions, leading to further schedule delays. The prime contractor is working on multiple supply chain mitigations to address the issue.”
Note: In October 1958, the US government contracted with Boeing to assemble and test the first Minuteman. The Air Force began constructing the first Minuteman missile field on March 16, 1961, and the first ten-missile flight was activated on October 27, 1962, at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Four years to activation!
Want to Know More? Sentinel ICBM Delayed page 87.
Malmstrom picture request:
Do you remember this sign outside of 341 SMW/ DO22? If you have information on who created it and when, please let us know. The wing would like to create a plague to acknowledge its origin. Send info to Director@AFMissileers.org
Teaching a Third Grader About Deterrence!
As a third grade Air Force “Brat”, my family was stationed in Japan on Kyushu Island. In the 60’s, my dad took our family to the Nagasaki Peace Museum. The impact of this trip has remained with me for 61 years. Upon entering the museum, I saw the atomic shadow pictures of several Japanese students, about my age, burned into a fence. The images were so clear, I could see their backpacks and faces clearly outlined on the fence. A steel Japanese helmet was also displayed, and the remains of the soldier’s skull were fused to the inside. The entire museum displayed amazing artifacts showing the devastation and the ferocity of the explosion. See more: Museum Site
On the way home in our 1958 Plymouth Belvedere, we were all very quiet. Dad broke the silence and asked, “well what do you think?” My sister immediately said, “it was scary”. I leaned over the front seat, (no seatbelts in a 58 Belvedere), and asked Dad “why did we bomb them?”
His paused and said, “to save American lives.” I looked at him questionably and he stated, “During WWII if the U.S. had invaded Japan, it was estimated the U.S. would have over one million U.S. casualties.” The President made the decision to use nuclear bombs to end the war quickly. Now, nuclear weapons keep our enemies from attacking us with nuclear bombs. Then Mom looked seriously at Dad and quietly said, “keep your eyes on the road”! I sat back in my seat and fell asleep thinking about what he said.
SAC’s original motto was “War is our Profession Peace is our Product”. Twelve years after SAC was formed it was shortened to “Peace is our Profession”. The mission however is still “to save American lives” through Deterrence. It is Deterrence that mandates the modernization of our strategic forces and why we need the Sentinel ICBM. Source: Anonymous at the request of the author.
Future to the Back?
October 1983 and HQ/SAC DP/XPM (personnel) distributed the Missile Memos to all missileers to keep them informed about the missile career field. DP was looking for Launch Officers to transfer into the tactical Ground Launched Cruise Missile (GLCM) program. GLCM bases were located in great places like Italy, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Hmmm, let me cogitate on this...Italy near the Mediterranean or Minot near Canada? Given the opportunity to tour Europe, many missileers volunteered to be GLCM Tactical Warriors. Below is the cartoon personnel placed at the top of the Missile Memos newsletter to " illuminate" officers on what their training would be like.
PANEL #1: I'M EXCITED ABOUT OUR GLCM LAUNCH OFFICER TRAINING!!
PANEL#2: THIS IS LAUNCH OFFICER TRAINING??
James F. Warner
Can you believe its already October! I hope you are enjoying these monthly updates. I also hope you check out our daily "This Day in Missile History" postings on Instagram @afmissileers or on our Facebook page, Association of Air Force Missileers. Here is more on what is happening in the community.
AAFM Regional meeting in Albuquerque:
Just a last-minute reminder that AAFM will host a regional meeting in Albuquerque on Thursday, October 5th at the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History. We’ll have a Q&A session with Col Kristen Nemish, AFNWC/CV. Activities start at 1730. This is an opportunity to talk with fellow missileers--membership is not required so bring a fellow missileer with you. To help with seating arrangements, please RSVP to Director@AFMissileers.org
Calling all artists:
As part of the 2024 AAFM National Meeting, we will honor the initial class of the Air Force Missileers Hall of Fame. As part of that, we are calling on artists to submit a design for a medallion that will be presented to each inductee. Designs should consider the heritage of those who have worn the missile badge in their design. The winning award will win an Amazon Gift Card and other recognitions. Submit all efforts NLT 28 February 2024 to Director@AFMissileers.org
As part of our upcoming book on Minuteman Artwork, we are seeking pictures of each of the duty uniforms worn by operators and maintainers over the last 60 years from the original white coveralls to the current OCPs for the operators and fatigues, BDUs etc. for the maintainers. Send all photos toDirector@AFMissileers.org and we’ll pick the best representative pictures for the book.
Start making your 2024 travel plans for Buellton:
The AAFM 2024 National meeting will be held at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott in Buellton, CA 23-27 October 2024. The registration form will go live on our website in the next few weeks as we are still working pricing for a winery tour. The Marriott is ready to take your advance registration now. Click here for the hotel reservation. Please note the room rate varies by night as it is in the middle of the Fall wedding season. More details on the entire schedule will be included in the December newsletter.
Thanks to the generous donation of over 35 patches from the personal collection of AAFM Life Member Col (ret) Darrell Downing, we were able to raise funds over $850 for the scholarship fund. If you have missile related items that you wish to donate for future auction, please reach out to our eBay guru, Monte Watts email@example.com
Do you recognize this item:
AAFM was contacted by an owner of a “Collectibles” store in Arizona regarding the test set pictured here. If you know what system goes with and its purpose, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
“Change Your Cars Spark Plugs With the Engine Running”
In 2023 the Active-duty Air Force is projected to miss its 2023 recruiting goal by ten percent. The Minuteman ICBM force is on alert 24/7 and requires a steady pipeline of Airmen to keep Minuteman operational and nuclear deterrence credible. Our airmen leave the Air Force or retire and must be replaced!
However, when Sentinel gets closer to deployment, Airmen will still need to be trained in Minuteman security, maintenance, and operations, while also bringing Sentinel into the force. You can say, “Hey we have done this before…For example, Minuteman II to Minuteman III”. However, the difference is that the Sentinel weapon system is completely new and may have different concepts of security, maintenance, and operations. Those concepts are still being developed so we don’t know how it will come out.
Air Force ICBM history is that we have been very successful in upgrading our existing systems, for example MM III/ CDB to MM III/React. Sentinel is not just an upgrade. Sentinel is a new missile, with new technology and operating requirements.
So, the question is how to keep Minuteman III alert ready while bringing Sentinel into the ICBM deterrent force? It’s similar to trying to change the spark plugs on your car while the engine is running or how to change the battery on your Tesla while it is running. It will be a tough job, but it can be done. It can be done with people!
More people and equipment will be required to get through the transition process. Recruiting people for the ICBM force is even more important now than before. The key component of any weapon system is people. Their training and readiness to complete the mission, enhances nuclear deterrence.
You can help by reaching out in your community and share your positive experiences in the Air Force.
Want to know more: Enlisted recruitment pipeline is drying up.
“How Not to Keep Our Missileers from Reenlisting”?
A September 2023 Government Accounting Office (GAO) report found substandard living conditions for our barracks dwellers across all the services. The report titled “MILITARY BARRACKS Poor Living Conditions Undermine Quality of Life and Readiness”. Given the Air Force may not meet the recruiting goals this year, we need to retain every qualified Airmen. For our missileers assigned to our Northern tier bases, it can be especially challenging to maintain morale and readiness. All of us have been barracks dwellers during some point in our service and know the effect that poor living conditions can have on squadrons. The GAO report is an “eye-opener”. Read the Full Report At: Is This the best We Can do for Our Troops?
Just FYI: How Much is an E2 Monthly Gross Pay at FE Warren?
Basic Pay: $2,402.10
Basic Allowance for Housing: $873.00
Basic Allowance for Subsistence: $452.56
Total Monthly Income $3,727.66
Taxable portion: $2,402.10
Untaxable portion: $1,325.56
Lockheed in ‘late-stage’ Talks with Solid-Rocket Motor partner
Lockheed Martin is in “late-stage negotiations” to partner with an unnamed rocket propulsion supplier, according to CEO Jim Taiclet. Defense firms L3Harris and Northrop Grumman own the only major U.S. suppliers of solid rocket motor propulsion systems. “We are endeavoring . . . to create another supplier,” Taiclet said during a House Armed Services Cyber, Information Technologies and Innovation subcommittee hearing Sept. 20. Want to know more: Accelerate Booster Production
AFGSC conducts 13N FAST Field Tests at FE Warren
For decades, missileers have used spreadsheets and localized tracking systems to maintain their schedules. Some of us can remember rooms full of whiteboards and markers strewn across desks as crew schedules were meshed together. Depending upon the problem, one crew member falling off the schedule could create a ripple effect through the entire crew force. The 13N Force Assessment Scheduling Tool, or FAST is a single-source, customizable data platform capable of accessing more than 100 Air Force data systems. It is currently programmed for 13N operational requirements but can be reprogrammed and used to support scheduling requirements for other career fields.
Want to know more: FAST Testing for Wing Scheduling
Type 1 Training has started for Grey Wolf Helicopter Operators and Flight Engineers. The Type 1 training, and the rollout of the Grey Wolf, will push the Air Force forward to increase operational capability. Pilots and engineers are training in simulators and reviewing training documents. The transition from UH-1N Huey to Grey Wolf is significant for the advances in speed, range, endurance, payload, and survivability, but it also provides an opportunity to update procedures and tactics used in the missile field for decades to come. Want to know more: Grey Wolf is Moving Forward
Recent environmental surveys, led by the United States Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine (USAFSAM), including air and water samplings at all 45 Missile Alert Facilities, continue to discover evidence of hazardous chemicals including PCBs in some LCCs. We applaud Global Strike Commander Gen Bussiere’s direction to immediately clean up the affected sites regardless of the levels of contamination to “mitigate exposure by our Airmen and Guardians to potentially hazardous conditions”. We know the USAFSAM team is working not only to ensure our current missileers have a safe work place but also to determine the root causes of the cancers. However, these studies confirm what many who pulled alerts a few decades ago have continuously reported regarding below ground spills. As the USAFSAM study continues, the focus needs to also include the cumulative effects of all potential toxic exposures and the health impacts on those who have served in years past. As we noted in August, we highly recommend those with related health indicators register at the Torchlight Initiativewww.torchlightinitiative.org to help provide baseline data in support of this continued effort.
Chinese Nuclear Rocket Force Leadership Fired
While US general officers have been waiting since March for Senate confirmation of their promotions due to a Senator hold, China has fired its top two leaders in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Rocket Force. The surprise shake-up raised questions about the inner workings at the top of the military branch overseeing the China’s powerful arsenal of nuclear and ballistic missiles.
The leadership change occurred as the Chinese nuclear force is expanding – creating an even more important role for the PLA Rocket Force. “These are the guys who have their finger on the nuclear trigger. They are responsible for handling and delivering China’s nuclear weapons,” said Drew Thompson, a senior research fellow at the National University of Singapore.
Want to know more? Tough Times in Chinese Rocket Force Leadership
Heated Gloves at Minot?
Some of you older missileers may wonder why did it take so long to come up with a heated gloves idea in the Great White North? The idea was part of the Minot Air Force Base innovation cell, also known as Atomic Spark, the IGNITOR working group and the 5th Contracting Squadron partnered with the 54th Helicopter Squadron, maintenance, and security forces units from the 5th Bomb Wing and 91st Missile Wing to bring another innovative solution to Team Minot…heated gloves. Team Minot’s custom glove proposal was selected by Gen. Brown, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, as the recipient of a portion of his Momentum Innovation Fund. The picture below shows some of the gloves being assessed at the working group. Some may look familiar.
Want to know more? Warm Fingers Innovation
Would Bear Grylls be Jealous?
The 40th Helicopter Squadron at Malmstrom AFB provides security surveillance of strategic weapon convoys and short notice emergency security forces responses. The 40th Helicopter Squadron also has a proud rescue history and currently conducts search and rescue missions in support of the Joint Chiefs of Staff National Search and Rescue plan.
As one part of their rescue mission, they honed their survival skills during a non-combat survival training course in the Lewis and Clark National Forest. The training prepared them for emergency landings in remote areas.
Senior Airman Chancellor Carl, 40th Helicopter Squadron special missions’ aviator, blows on a fire to grow the flames during the course in the picture below
Patch sales support Scholarship fund.
Last week, AAFM put a series of duplicate patches donated by our member’s collections on eBay for auction with proceeds benefiting the AAFM Scholarship fund. A total of $880.64 was received during the week-long event. The 3.5” Vandenberg Space & Missile Country patch pictured here wins the prize for the highest bid for a single patch at $62.00 Similar events will be announced in the future via our Facebook account and these Dispatches.
2023 Scholarship opportunities.
The Association of Air Force Missileers (AAFM) is pleased to announce the opening of the application period for semi-annual scholarships to eligible active-duty ICBM professionals to help cover additional costs related to earning their degrees. Eight scholarship awards of $500 per recipient are available to all ranks and specialties serving the nuclear deterrence mission.
While tuition assistance is designed to pay 100% of tuition costs for approved degree programs, AAFM recognizes there are additional costs that students incur due to tuition assistance limits, including application, exam and technology fees and textbook/eBook costs.
We are honored to name these scholarships in recognition of three key members of our AAFM family: Colonel Charles Simpson Founders Scholarship, Chief Master Sergeant Richard “Hawk” Hochheiser Memorial Scholarship, and Colonel Trevor Flint Memorial Scholarship.
For more information and to apply, visit afmissileers.org/scholarships. Application deadline is 31 Oct 2023.
SECAF Visits F.E. Warren
Frank Kendall, Secretary of the Air Force, and his spouse Ms. Beth Halpern, visited F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming, in conjunction with Cheyenne Frontier Days (CFD).
Kendall visited F.E. Warren to connect with 90th Missile Wing Airmen and to learn about the intercontinental ballistic missile mission and F.E. Warren AFB modernization efforts. He also spoke with city leaders about the quality of life, local challenges, and successes in the community. He also served as the Grand Marshall of the CFD parade.
Kendall hosted an all-call at the Peacekeeper High Bay, where he spoke on topics such as pay, cancer concerns and quality of life. He opened the floor for questions and Airmen were curious about BAH rates, recruiting rates, strategic deterrence, and modernization impacts.
Congratulations to Major General Mike Lutton, 20th AF Commander for being nominated for his third star. The change of command date should be announced after he is confirmed by the Senate.
Want to know more? Senate Nominations
How the U.S. Air Force Will Guard its New Sentinel ICBMs:
Air and Space Forces Magazine recently published a three-part series on the future of how Air Force security forces and missileers will guard USAF nuclear missile fields.
Part 1, Prepping for the Grey Wolf. Part 2, on the new Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV), and Part 3, on new infrastructure and training. All three parts are now available on the AAFM web site at the following link: https://www.afmissileers.org/In-the-News.
Part 1 Summary: The Air Force will replace its Hueys with the MH-139A Grey Wolf, which can fly faster, higher, and twice as far as the Huey. The Grey Wolf can also carry 5,000 more pounds of cargo, which should give security and maintenance forces more options when responding to a crisis. Dave Barry said, “the badness of an action movie is directly proportional to the number of helicopters in the movie”…the new Grey Wolf is ready for its role as the “baddest” platform in the ICBM fields! Want to know more? Do More and Do it Longer
Part 2 Summary: ICBM Security Forces are already using the new Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) at the Mighty Ninety. The JLTV is billed as better in rough terrain, and better protected than the Humvee. It is also smarter, with computers in the dashboard that help Airmen keep track of their fellow defenders and build situational awareness. To see a Motor Trend comparison of the Humvee vs. the JLTV click on this link: Fast, Furious and Deadly
Part 3 Summary: Col. Deane Konowicz, Vice Commander of the 20th Air Force, said, “The challenges don’t go away, they change, so we need a trained and efficient force that understands them.” A new facility may make it easier to strike that balance. F.E. Warren will build an integrated complete with a mock launch facility where maintainers, defenders, cybersecurity specialists, and operators can practice running and securing Sentinel without stepping on the toes of an operational facility. Want to know more? Infrastructure and Training
Eating Good in the Nuclear Neighborhood
Other than defending the US, alert duty brings together groups of different Airmen for a single purpose…eating! No matter the weapon system, alert food is key to keeping morale high and missiles alert ready. Also, it’s hard to sneak up on an aggressor when your stomach is growling. In 2003 AAFM had a good series on food and missileers. You can read it at https://www.afmissileers.org/Food
The Tactical Pizza story prompted us to ask for some unique dining experiences from our members. We started with Titan and the response was amazing. Future emails will include other weapon systems. Names were omitted to protect the innocent…read on nuclear warriors:
- We had a kitchen at our site in AZ. We would catch Rattlesnakes during DSV. We used Shake-N-Bake for the coating!
- Anyone familiar with a Titan 2 air supply knows air comes from the control center, down the short cableway, through the blast lock and finally down the long cableway - exactly where we were working! All of a sudden came the smell of cooking bacon, eggs, toast, and hot coffee. The crew was going to feast on bacon and eggs. We were tired, dirty, facing a 1 1/2-hour drive to DM and mostly we were hungry too. Then the insult. Over the PA, the crew commander announces, "ALL PTS CREW MEMBERS REPORT IMMEDIATELY TO THE CONTROL CENTER." Great, tired, dirty, facing a long drive while hungry, and we're about to get chewed out. NOPE. That breakfast had been for us, the PTS crew. We were to ravage all that food along with the 4-man combat crew for what was heaven, had been laid out before us.
- Down in the Access Portal in the Titan II complexes, just outside of Blast Door #6, there was a small exhaust fan that was manually operated. When I got more money with promotions, I would take out a Hibachi grill and charcoal and cook steaks and burgers topside. When the weather got bad or cold, I put the grill next to the fan, close door 6 and grill in the access portal.
- I was on T2. Usually leftover from home, apple fritters from the Mad Butcher or other donuts. I always carried a chicken chow mein canned meal for getting snowed in.
- The best meal I ever had while working PTS at Little Rock was box lunches from the chow hall. It was also the worst because in my almost three years in PTS it was the only meal w had at the sits.
- I was Titan II PTS for nearly 16 years. During deactivation at McConnell our RFHCO trailers were equipped with a refrigerator and microwave. We all carried our small coolers out and we all had our favorite recipes. Mine was a "Gourmet" smothered frozen burrito on a paper plate. A couple of frozen burritos were smothered in a can of Wolfe Chili (with or without beans) and topped with a can of Fritos Cheese dip!!! Thankfully I was the PTS Task Supervisor and didn't get in RFHCO often as the farts were well...bad!!!
- Level 1 of our three-level control center in Titan II had a kitchen. We had to take out our own food. For lunch and dinner it was whatever a broke, young, Airman could afford. I ate a lot of Geno's Pizza Rolls for lunch and ham and cheese sandwiches from buying ingredients at the Commissary. Also, I ate a lot of salads as it was five heads for a buck (mid to late 70s). Had to stretch $90/month as far as it could go. The first crew I was on was great and the four of us would bring the different ingredients and the MFT and I would make breakfast while the two officers stayed on Level 2 and tidy up before we got relieved.
- For some strange reason, when I was at McConnell, our crew vehicle always malfunctioned when we came close to a grocery store.
- We dropped mandatory foil packs while I was there, and we in the 390th SMW didn't look back! As far as cooking, we would stop at a 7-11 for the non-cooks, or like me I'd stop at a grocery store on the way to alert and pick up anything from sandwiches to a steak, potatoes, and some fruit, maybe some eggs for breakfast. We had the kitchen on level 1 which was better than the kitchen in my apartment I rented off base. It was known that sometimes we would even BBQ topside. That was a weekend project. One MCCC I had fixed chicken teriyaki with all the fixens. We ate good on crew!!
- Titan II in Little Rock DOV crew. MFT would bring his own omelet pans. We had Omelets, a pound of bacon, tatter tots, and toast. Every alert, the best meals in my career.
- I was Titan II -- DIY food. To this day I avoid microwave pizza because I ate it on alert so much (pizza remains my favorite food grouping I just won't get a pizza designed for the microwave). But I had an awesome MFT who loved to fish. He brought out the filets and cooked them up in corn meal. We had all you can eat fish dinner -- I am guessing it was a Sunday alert.
- When I first got on crew in 1969, we had foil pack meals, not much choice of what food we got, we brought it to the site in big coolers. Normally we had fresh eggs for breakfast. We usually made a stop on the way to the site at a 7/11 to pick up snacks and junk food. On level 2, where the control center was, we had a hot plate for the coffee pot and the crew ate their meals there. The maintenance guys had to bring their own food to the site, and they would eat in the kitchen on level 1. As time went on, they gave us more choices and the food improved some.
- ELab team 81-85 on long test days we all would bring out food for the team. Anything from chili to lasagna to pasta dishes. Sure was good to eat good food and not junk food on shorter maintenance days.
- I remember the running joke at McConnell was the Titan 2 course meal - a large bag of Ruffles a 2-litre bottle of Pepsi. I too ate a lot of pizza rolls and tv dinners. In addition, carried a can of beef stew if we were snowed in
- Had a Greek chef on our crew in KS so we stopped at a grocery store on the way out.
Help the Red Dawgs:
The 12th Missile Squadron "Red Dawgs" at Malmstrom AFB is revamping its hallway in the administrative building. We plan to include a chronological timeline of its history and display retired missileer uniforms and various memorabilia. Please consider donating old uniforms, patches, or any pertinent information, and your name and legacy will live on while hanging on the Red Dawgs’ walls, indefinitely. We're specifically looking for the CMU-3/P "white overalls" worn from 1963 to ~1968, two piece "crew blues" worn from ~1968 to 1988, and blue flight suit worn from 1988 to 2004. If anyone is willing to donate these or other items, the ”Red Dawgs” would be sincerely grateful for your assistance in preserving its heritage! Contact Information: 2LT Nora Dachota Email: Nora.Dachota.email@example.com / Civ Email: Norkat12@gmail.com
Looking for some history on our nuclear history? Check out the new movie Oppenheimer. While AAFM can’t attest to its accuracy we thought we would share this picture from the real event: J. Robert Oppenheimer (left) and Gen. Leslie R. Groves examining the remains of a steel tower at the Trinity test site in Alamogordo, New Mexico, September 1945.(note the AF tan uniform!)
New AAFM Store Items:
Check out the new logo items in our AAFM store including our new full or subdues patches and our new ICBM history t-shirt that shows the timeline of ICBMs from Atlas to Sentinel. Available in the blue shown below or a special order olive drab dry wick that meets uniform requirements.
308 SMW Reunion
Reunion dates - 9 - 11 August 2024
Location: Dessert Diamond Casino, Tucson, Arizona
By far the hardest task in my role as the Executive Director is tracking and sharing information on the loss of every missileer. April wasn't any different with the loss of MSgt (ret) Ronnie Pope, Lt Col (ret) Tim Christi, Lt Col (ret) Anthony Spaduzzi and Col (ret) Trevor Flint, all way too early in life (and younger than me!) Tony was one of our recent cancer losses and Trevor was a larger than life type guy who will be remembered for his leadership and friendship in both the operations and maintenance communities.
On the brighter side, one of our own was nominated for induction into the North Carolina Military Veteran’s Hall of Fame. Colonel (ret) John Ellen was recognized for his long and dedicated service to North Carolina and the Nation. Congratulations Col Ellen!
In other news…..
Committee Trims Appropriation for Minot’s Base Retention
North Dakota: A legislative conference committee is recommending lawmakers approve $500,000 for Minot’s base retention efforts and preparation for the Air Force’s Sentinel missile upgrade. The amount is less than the $900,000 originally sought for Minot in Senate Bill 2240, which the Senate approved 47-0 in January. The chairman of the conference committee, called the compromise amount inappropriate for Minot.
He noted military bases have a $2.4 billion annual economic impact in North Dakota, adding that the Sentinel missile upgrades will have an additional $3.2 billion impact. The construction project is expected to bring 2,500 to 3,000 workers when it comes to the Minot region.
Want to know more? https://www.minotdailynews.com/news/local-news/2023/04/committee-trims-appropriation-for-minots-base-retention/
China says it carried out a successful ground-based mid-course missile interception test in an apparent sign of progress in its ability to bring down weapons incoming from space. The Defense Ministry says the operation was carried out late Friday night within Chinese territory and achieved “the desired test objective.”
Want to know more? https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/china-conducted-mid-missile-interception-test-98603053
Military Readiness, New ICBMs Top Air Force Secretary's Visit
Malmstrom AFB:Top U.S. Air Force leadership, including Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall, paid an uncommon visit to Great Falls last Wednesday, stopping to meet directly with service members at Malmstrom Air Force Base and the Montana Air National Guard’s 120th Airlift Wing. The delegation, which also included Lt General Robert Miller, USAF Surgeon General, Major General Michael Lutton, 20th Air Force, Commander, and Col. Tory Woodard, Commander, USAF School of Aerospace Medicine.
Want to know more? https://www.greatfallstribune.com/story/news/local/2023/04/10/air-force-secretary-kendall-visits-great-falls-military-bases/70097348007/
The Last “Final” Alert (aka LFA)
Since missiles have been operational, there has always been a feeling of great accomplishment and an emotional reaction after pulling a last alert. Below are some examples of how crew members have expressed themselves about their LFA:
- To celebrate a crew members LFA, an FM and Security Forces people would form a gauntlet and come to attention when the crew member came out of the FSC’s office. When the crew member stepped outside, two loud booms from a two-potato gun salute was fired.
- One crew member brought out steaks and baked potatoes and grilled them for the troops on site.
- One crew member burned his crew blue shirt along with classified topside in the burn barrel. He was exiting the AF.
- Crew members would leave “messages of inspiration” written on the capsule wall next to the tunnel junction door.
- In the mid 70’s a bottle of unopened champagne was supposedly found on top of the LCC acoustical enclosure. It was covered in dust and dirt and may have been some ones attempt to “christen” the launching of the capsule when it became operational or an LFA. Oh those SAC troops!
- A crew member purchased a bunch of DVDs and donated them to the capsule.
- A crew member took a picture of a flickertail prairie dog, framed it, and dedicated it to the security forces and their superior efforts to “keep” flickertails from unauthorized entry on to LF’s.
- A crew member left confetti in the refrigerator with a note that said, “someone else can clean this refrigerator besides me”. She also included a nice dessert!
- Some crew members have made very special LFA flight suits and took “memorable” pictures of themselves around the MAF.
- A crew member left her “kitty cat” slippers in the LCC for future generations to use.
- A crew member dressed up as General MacArthur and took a picture of himself by the MAF flagpole. You guessed it…caption: “I shall return”.
As highlighted in the April 2023 newsletter, in today’s crew force crew members may not have a real LFA until after they leave the Air Force. Crew members of all ranks, including wing, 20th, and AFGSC staffs pull alerts and are mission combat ready. Still, when they move from one ICBM base to another, they celebrate the LFA at that base…until they return.
Teams of medical and public health experts recently presented initial findings taken from an ongoing survey and study of cancer-related concerns at Air Force Global Strike Command’s intercontinental ballistic missile bases.
The teams, consisting of members from the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine/Defense Centers for Public Health – Dayton, AFGSC’s Surgeon General Directorate, and Defense Health Agency, visited F.E. Warren AFB, Wyoming; Minot AFB, North Dakota; and Malmstrom AFB, Montana, between Feb. 27 - March 7.
The USAFSAM Commander, Col. Tory W. Woodard, and the AFGSC Command Surgeon, Col. Lee D. Williames, briefed AFGSC Commander Gen. Thomas A. Bussiere, his staff and subordinate command teams, on the study’s results thus far, stating that at this time, no immediate factors were discovered that would be considered immediate concerns for acute cancer risks. It was also noted no specific factors had been found at Malmstrom AFB to indicate an elevated risk level, environmental or otherwise, present at that installation.
“This does not mean that continued study will not occur,” Woodard said. “We at USAFSAM are absolutely dedicated to transparently and fully investigating the cancer concern brought forward. We will continue to study and investigate.”
During the study process, the teams monitored for potential occupational and/or environmental exposures*, while recording concerns relayed by missile community personnel to the teams. These concerns included potential exposure to hazardous chemicals and compounds, fresh air availability, safety hazards while driving, and fertility concerns.
Briefing the commander, additional findings were noted.
Across the ICBM installations, each location possessed specific local environmental and agricultural factors which will need to be considered as studies continue. The land surrounding Missile Alert Facilities, Launch Control Centers, and Launch Facilities is also not owned by the government and thus it was noted locations could contain additional unknown agricultural hazards. Additionally, the currently established procedures for both testing and for cleaning the various facilities differ from installation to installation as well, creating inconsistencies between locations.
In response, establishment of a comprehensive environmental sampling plan across all job specialties and across installation was directed by Bussiere, in addition to his direction that deep cleanings of facilities must be implemented on a recurring basis. The sampling plan would occur at all MAFs and LCCs quarterly, and repeated to account for variations in locations and seasons.
Outdated signage denoting the presence of polychlorinated biphenyls was taken note of as well, which Bussiere directed to be updated. Updates were also initiated by the general to do away with burning as a means of destroying classified materials inside the facilities.
It was further established that communication and coordination between medical personnel and missile community members needed to be improved. The commander directed his staff to explore the development of medical professionals specifically assigned to ICBM units, much like flight surgeons assigned to flying units, so as to have a better understanding of the environment and missions. This would include training and improved access to sensitive areas for those medical personnel, to assist with routine visits and acute events.
Bussiere also ordered further engagement with personnel who work with known occupational hazards in order to collect more data and information, and that preventative maintenance and environmental upgrades be prioritized while awaiting the eventual replacement of the Minuteman III ICBM with the LGM-35A Sentinel, scrutinizing any upgrade or new piece of equipment adopted for hazards.
Those areas of concern and the substantial updates outlined to AFGSC leadership by Woodard will be addressed in a virtual town hall for missile community members on May 11, covering updates on the ongoing study, key action taken, and continuing concerns.
*The potential exposures monitored include:
Per- and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS) such as perfluorooctyl sulfonate and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOS/PFOA), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), asbestos, organophosphates (agricultural spraying of pesticides), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), air quality/air exchanges per hour, water quality, burning of materials in LCCs, ozone or other airborne contaminants, off-gassing of hydrogen from motors and batteries, carbon monoxide and diesel fumes/exhaust, sodium chromate solution, hypergolic fuels (monomethyl hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide oxidizer), radon, and fungicidal cork exposure.
Happy April Fools Day--the following is all real and not a joke! I'll leave the "humor" to the professionals.
We hope you are enjoying these monthly news updates. We are in the final days of prep for the April newsletter which should hit your email inbox by mid-April and your postal boxes by the end of the month. April’s edition will provide an update on the cancer study, continue or families in missiles corner, a perspective on staff members pulling alerts and much more. Of course, if you want to get the earlier distribution and help us save money on printing costs you can always update your profile on line or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Master Missileer and AAFM member Brigadier General Stacy Jo Huser Nominated for Major General
AAFM’s keynote speaker at our Salt Lake City banquet has been nominated for her second star. Below is a “golden nugget” from a video she made to first generation students from North Central College where she graduated in 1994. Below the quote is a link to a 92 second video of General Huser’s advice.
“Be authentic. Be your true self with your friends, fellow students, professors, family members, coworkers, because when you are true and authentic and vulnerable, it builds that trust and people need that. They need to see that in you. They need to see your authentic self and trust me they will adore you just the way you are.”
Want to know more? https://www.facebook.com/NorthCentralCollege.CardinalFirst/videos/air-force-brig-gen-stacy-jo-huser-94/254996579829149/
Feeding the Missile Force:
Minot’s and FE Warren’s Missile Alert Feeding Operations (MAFO) have been selected as one of two finalists for the 2023 John L. Hennessy Award, a commendation that highlights outstanding achievement in the food service career field. May the best MAFO win
Every security force member, FM, MCC, and Maintainer knows that a good MAF chef can make or break an alert tour. This is especially true with longer alert tours in the field. A great omelet with tots in the morning can get you ready to dig ice out of the A-pit and fight the wind during site checks. The old days of “foil packs” and different tasting “chicken” are over.
Want to know more?
According to BreakingDefense.com, DoD “Rejiggers” 96 billion Sentinel ICBM program to minimize delay?
You may want to know what it means to “Rejigger”? Dictionary.com defines ”Rejigger’ to change or rearrange in a new or different way. The Defense Department and the Air Force have taken actions to minimize a delay in the $96 billion Sentinel ICBM acquisition program caused by supply chain and workforce issues at prime contractor Northrop Grumman, a senior DoD official said today. Below is a link that explains what DoD is doing and why.
Hey, What’s that Smell?
Date: 1975, Place: Oscar LCC, Time: 18:30 after dinner. From behind the toilet curtain the crew commander yells outs “Hey Tom, we’re out of toilet paper in here”. Tom responds, “what’s this “we” stuff?” Commander replies, “quit screwing around and bring me some paper or do you want me to put new words in your OPR Judgement and Decisions block?” Tom quietly slides a copy of the local newspaper under the curtain. Commander starts to reply, but the PAS screams out “Skybird, Skybird….(you know the rest). Tom acknowledges the PAS, walks back, and rolls some TP under the curtain.
Two hours later. Commander turns around and asks, “What the hell is that smell?” Tom replies, “don’t look at me, I didn’t eat the barbeque chicken foil pack!” Commander looks at Tom and says, “no it’s something else.” Tom starts thinking of the MPT statement “you smell smoke” and visions of crew of the month for isolating a fire go through his mind. Tom grabs his Tech Order, goes up to the front console, takes a big whiff, and states “that isn’t smoke, it smells like s**t!”.
Commander replies, “no s**t Sherlock, go back and check the Emergency Shutoff Valve under the floor”. Tom walks back to the tunnel junction walkway, shines his handy dandy government issued, green plastic flashlight and looks under the LCC. Tom yells out “I can’t see the valve its covered in brownish water.” Commander yells back “call job and get a writeup.”
Tom yells back, “hold on, let me see if I can get a little closer.” Tom leans out more over the walkway, puts his sandal covered foot on the capsule wall…slips, and slides slowly down the wall. Tom using his Fitness Assessment honed skills, stops himself from going all the way into the “water”. Commander hears SAC not approved expletives emanating from Tom, hustles back grabs Tom’s arm and helps him up.
Despite his physical abilities, Tom’s foot took a slight dip in the “water”. On that alert, Tom’s Commander awarded him a new call sign…SHIFOOT!
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