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Faces of the Mighty Ninety: Infrastructure and Equipment Division

Matt Morris, Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center data manager, locates blueprints of missile field equipment at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., Feb. 1, 2017. The document library has files from the intercontinental ballistic missile program’s inception and are still accessed today to troubleshoot problems that can occur to the aging missile system. The Infrastructure and Equipment Division ensures that facility and infrastructure requirements are in place to support the ICBM weapons system across every missile complex. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Ruano)

Matt Morris, Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center data manager, locates blueprints of missile field equipment at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., Feb. 1, 2017. The document library has files from the intercontinental ballistic missile program’s inception and are still accessed today to troubleshoot problems that can occur to the aging missile system. The Infrastructure and Equipment Division ensures that facility and infrastructure requirements are in place to support the ICBM weapons system across every missile complex. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Ruano)

Record cabinets line the wall of the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center infrastructure and equipment divisions building at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., Feb. 1, 2017. In the building’s library, historical files can be found on current and past missile systems to include the Atlas and Peacekeeper missiles. The Infrastructure and Equipment Division ensures that facility and infrastructure requirements are in place to support the intercontinental ballistic missile systems across every missile complex.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Ruano)

Record cabinets line the wall of the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center infrastructure and equipment divisions building at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., Feb. 1, 2017. In the building’s library, historical files can be found on current and past missile systems to include the Atlas and Peacekeeper missiles. The Infrastructure and Equipment Division ensures that facility and infrastructure requirements are in place to support the intercontinental ballistic missile systems across every missile complex. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Ruano)

Tech. Sgt. Dustin Isbell, Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center Electronic Laboratory NCO in charge, performs a circuit test on a Minuteman III power processer circuit board at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., Feb. 1, 2017. The circuit test ensures the board is in good working order before it is placed back into the missile system. The Infrastructure and Equipment Division ensures that facility and infrastructure requirements are in place to support the intercontinental ballistic missile systems across every missile complex.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Ruano)

Tech. Sgt. Dustin Isbell, Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center Electronic Laboratory NCO in charge, performs a circuit test on a Minuteman III power processer circuit board at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., Feb. 1, 2017. The circuit test ensures the board is in good working order before it is placed back into the missile system. The Infrastructure and Equipment Division ensures that facility and infrastructure requirements are in place to support the intercontinental ballistic missile systems across every missile complex. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Ruano)

Staff Sgt. Dorian Howard, Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center soldering technical advisor, repairs a Minuteman III power processer circuit board at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., Feb. 1, 2017. The AFNWC electronic laboratory on F.E. Warren tests and repairs the circuit boards for all three intercontinental ballistic missile wings. The Infrastructure and Equipment Division ensures that facility and infrastructure requirements are in place to support the ICBM systems across every missile complex.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Ruano)

Staff Sgt. Dorian Howard, Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center soldering technical advisor, repairs a Minuteman III power processer circuit board at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., Feb. 1, 2017. The AFNWC electronic laboratory on F.E. Warren tests and repairs the circuit boards for all three intercontinental ballistic missile wings. The Infrastructure and Equipment Division ensures that facility and infrastructure requirements are in place to support the ICBM systems across every missile complex. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Ruano)

F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. --

With 33 years working in the nuclear enterprise as an engineer, Greg Smith, Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center ICBM infrastructure and equipment division director, leads a team of 20 fellow engineers, logistics experts, technical writers, and enlisted facility missile maintainers.

 

“Our office was stood up back in the ‘60s because the military realized in the ICBM business, missile facilities are so directly intertwined with the weapon system itself,” Smith said. “It’s a facility launch platform that’s really part of the whole weapons system.”

 

Smith and his team ensure that facility and infrastructure requirements are in place and do their job to support the Minuteman III weapons system for the three ICBM wings and Vandenberg test launch facilities.

 

“All of the facilities that support the ICBM launch system itself are our responsibility,” said Senior Master Sgt. Levi Soule, Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center ICBM infrastructure and equipment division superintendent. “We write the configuration control technical data that the civil engineers and missile maintainers use to maintain the equipment, and choose the tools and parts they use to maintain it. Our office is responsible for ensuring this is done for all three ICBM wings.”

 

One of the main purposes of Smith’s office is configuration control of the missile field sites.

 

“If one site has it, they all have to have it,” Soule said. “If one part goes bad, you can’t just substitute that part without the proper permissions because there are impacts that can occur to the rest of the system by adding or replacing parts.”

 

All of the missile fields are unique in their own way, and require Smith’s office to ensure procedures are approved in order to not hinder the missile system in any way.

 

“For more than 50 years our job has been here to manage the real property out in the missile field,” Smith said. “Not just here at F.E. Warren, but also at the other ICBM missile fields including Minot and Malmstrom Air Force Bases.”

 

In addition to the work they perform for the missile field units, inside their office they house a one-of-a kind library of blueprints and other historical files on the multiple ICBM missile systems dating back to the Atlas and Titan days.

 

“There is no other place in the country that has something similar to our library,” Smith said. “We have important documents that basically go back to the beginning of the ICBM program.”

 

These documents are still accessed today to troubleshoot problems that can occur to the aging missile system. The solutions can be different from wing to wing since they were constructed at different times.

 

 Additionally, the organization operates an Electronics Lab that accomplishes component repairs or replacement. These parts can be as small as a resistor or capacitor. Since most of these circuit cards and parts have not been manufactured in decades, this E-Lab repair capability is unique and not found anywhere else in the Air Force.   

 

For Smith, being as close to the mission as possible was his goal when he joined the Air Force in 1983. He was stationed at F.E. Warren as an officer supporting the Peacekeeper missile bed-down and mission stand-up.  He has been a part of the nuclear enterprise ever since.

 

“As a civil engineering guy, I have always felt it was important to get as close to the mission as you could,” Smith said. “In the ICBM business, there isn’t any other way you can get as close to the weapon system as a missile engineer. It’s been rewarding to be close to the tip of the spear as a civil engineer.  As a support person, you can’t get any closer.”