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.
James F. Warner