F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. --
The snow crunched beneath their heavy boots. A thin layer of ice covered the soft, powdery snow, amplifying the noise made with each step. The wind howled, carrying with it white waves of snow not covered by the icy frost. Unfazed by the harsh elements, our warriors descended below the frozen landscape ready to answer their nation’s call at a moment’s notice.
The female missileers of the 90th Missile Wing, stationed at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, on March 7, 2019 took up positions more than five stories below the frozen, snow-covered landscape of Wyoming, Colorado and Nebraska. They stood watch – ready, willing and able to deploy the military’s nuclear arsenal to defend our nation.
Col. Stacy Huser, 90th Missile Wing commander, who joined her sisters in arms by deploying with them on the alert, addressed the team, “This day sends a message to the women who are coming after us, to our sister wings, and to the bomb wings that are still struggling. We need to do this for all our ladies in the Air Force.
“The all-female alert shows that we can work on and grow the diversity of our force. It is important to be visible, regardless of rank and inspire others who come after you,” said Huser.
Those serving on alert understand the importance of their mission.
“Whenever I go on alert, I am the most powerful person in the world,” said Capt. Annalisa Richardson, 319th Missile Squadron flight commander. “To have the responsibility for 10 to 20 nuclear weapons, to have that as my role in my country’s defense, makes me proud.”
Women have played a growing role in the nuclear deterrence mission since 1989, when 1st Lt. Lea Dye became the first woman to pull alert on the Minuteman III missile system. As of 2018, the Air Force had 247 women in its missileer force and that number continues to grow.
“Women have always been around combat, and we at F.E. Warren want to set the example,” said Col. Robert Ewers, 90th Operations Group commander. “The 90th Missile Wing is a powerful force consisting of a diverse group of people. Today allows us to pause and celebrate the fact that we can have an all-female alert at the 90th Missile Wing.
“Today’s alert not only ensures a combat-ready nuclear force but spreads the American ideal of equal rights for all,” said Ewers.