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AAFM Dispatch 04/02 2024

02 Apr 2024 22:21 | Anonymous

Fellow Missileers:

Here's an update on what's going on around the force:

Women’s History Month Puzzler: Who was the first woman to receive a military pension in the American Revolutionary War? (See answer somewhere in the Dispatch)

McDonalds vs Nunn-McCurdy vs Sentinel ICBM

Recently, the cost of a McDonalds Big Mac Meal reached $18.00 in Darien Connecticut. See: (A Critical Breach). In 1993 the cost of a Big Mac Meal was $2.99 which is around a 600% increase to $18 bucks. If the Big Mac Meal were a DOD program, it would be a “Critical” breach of the Nunn-McCurdy Congressional reporting process! Inflation is impacting all parts of the US economy and especially Defense major acquisition programs like Sentinel.

Although not as bad as an $18.00 Big Mac, the Sentinel ICBM program critically breached Nunn-McCurdy limits by around 37% and the program is looking at a possible two-year slip. This breach is still being evaluated by the SECDEF. Northrop Grumman, which won the Sentinel contract in 2020, has struggled with inflated supply chain issues, workforce shortages and clearance issues, as identified by the Government Accountability Office. See:  (GAO)

Air Force Officials recently have also been faced with the program’s challenges. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall stating there are  (Unknown, Unknowns) . For example, The Air Force’s original plan for modernizing its ICBM enterprise included keeping nearly all its existing copper cabling in place to be reused for Sentinel. That’s roughly 7,500 miles’ worth of copper cabling, connecting 400 half-century-old MM III silos scattered through the Great Plains region with launch control centers and other facilities. See:  (Copper vs Fiber).

The impact of this possible delay has the “budget vultures” in Washington DC starting to circle. Once again Congressional representatives are asking questions about extending MMIII. For example: “Why does the Air Force continue to publicly state that the Minuteman III is too old and impossible to maintain while knowing that the Minuteman III must be maintained until at least 2037”?   Please read the following letter sent to Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Financial Manager and Comptroller from (Rep) John Garamendi and co-signed by Senator Warren.

See: (Garamendi/Warren)

It would be nice for both of them to dispatch with a Comm Team at Minot in the middle of winter to repair a break in 50-year-old copper cable buried 5 to 10 feet in frozen ground.

Meanwhile...China is building three new ICBM fields (FAS Article) and Russia’s new heavy “Satan II” ICBM is now on “combat duty” See (On Alert) . If you can find the time, please mail a handwritten or typed letter with your view on Sentinel to:

Senator Elizabeth Warren

309 Hart Senate Office Building.

Washington, DC 20510-2104


And to

US Representative John Garamendi

2004 Rayburn HOB

Washington, DC  20515


Note: Handwritten or typed letters are always preferred as their staff just can’t hit the email delete button.

Now for Something Entirely Different

Let’s just suppose you are driving out to the AAFM National Meeting in October or heading out for your summer vacation. If you are close to Hill AFB, there is a “labor of Minutemen love” you need to stop and see. Two of our AAFM members (Carlos Rice and Jim Sorenson) built a 99.9% replica of a Minuteman LCC. But wait, there is more...there are MM Reentry Vehicles and for really old former crew members an Emergency Communication System (ERCS) console used to record and load an execution message into a missile.

The ERCS console was also an excellent way to garner a critical error on an evaluation. Once the  crew received an execution message and authenticated it, the Crew Commander would use the ERCS console to record the message. If the crew messed up at any time during the recording or launch process and an invalid message was loaded, causing a launch guessed, it...”Crit City”! This link (LCC) will take you to the Hill Aerospace Museum web page where you can try and find the pink bunny slippers. (Revolutionary War Pension)

Around the Force

March is Women's History Month, an occasion to heighten awareness of the contributions women have made to history and continue the long-standing tradition of excellence in American society. Below are some pictures.

Malmstrom AFB: 

The Wing  received its first Grey Wolf helicopter. We have all been watching the process as the Grey Wolf moved through acquisition.’s in the field.

Minot AFB: Minot takes home AFGSC Outstanding Team of the Year Award. This is the third consecutive year Team Minot has clinched the award. U.S. Air Force Capt. Allyson Wells, 91st Operational Support Staff flight commander, recalled how three consecutive victories highlighted the consistency of Team Minot’s commitment to excellence. Want to know more?  (Three wins)

FE Warren: The 90th Missile Wing missile alert facility feeding operation on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming, won the John L. Hennessy Trophy. The Hennessy Award is granted to bases with exceptional food service operations, promoting the importance of keeping personnel fed on base and in the missile field. “I’m so proud of our Chadwell Dining Facility and missile feeding teams,” said Maj. Jennifer Holmstrom, 90th Force Support Squadron commander. If you ever have the opportunity to eat at FE’s dining facility, they make a darn good omelet or tofu stir fry. Burrp...excuse me, but it was really tasty!

20th Air Force: 20th is celebrating its’ 80th Anniversary in April and honoring the only 20th Air Force Medal of Honor winner (then) SSgt Henry ‘Red” Eugene Erwin Sr. During a 1945 bombing mission over Koriyama, Japan, a white phosphorus bomb  prematurely ignited in his aircraft and seriously wounded him. As smoke filled the plane, he picked up the burning device and carried it through the aircraft to the cockpit where he tossed it out a window. Although he suffered severe burns, he successfully saved his plane and all crew members aboard by disposing of the incendiary/smoke-generating bomb. To honor his memory, On 4 April 2024, HQ 20 AF, Building 65, will be rededicated as “Erwin Hall”.

To commemorate  the occasion and help pay for a metal plaque to be installed, the Missile Booster Association is selling patches, coins, and stickers. To purchase them, see the flyer below.

Reunions and Gatherings:

The 390th Strategic Missile Wing Memorial Association is having a reunion in Tucson for the 40th anniversary of the 390th SMW shutdown September 25-28 2024. Information on the reunion can be found at, or contact Don Boelling at

The 2024 Black Hills Bandits 30th Anniversary Reunion will be held 5-8 September at the Hart Ranch RV Resort in Rapid City, SD.  You can get more information or register at:



James F. Warner

Executive Director

Mailing address:

P.O. Box 1767

Monument, CO 80132


The Association of Air Force Missileers

is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. 

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