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Senior leaders visit 90 MW, focus on mission modernization

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Sarah Post
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs

The Honorable Kristyn Jones, performing the duties of Under Secretary of the U.S. Air Force, the Honorable Peter Beshar, assistant secretary of the Air Force General Counsel, Lt. Gen. Andrew Gebara, deputy chief of staff for strategic deterrence and nuclear integration, and several other leaders visited F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming, Feb. 19-20, 2024.

The visit provided Jones an opportunity to gain more in-depth knowledge of how Airmen execute the nuclear deterrence mission at missile alert facilities and launch facilities and what changes are needed with ICBM modernization efforts.

In addition to Jones, Maj. Gen. John Newberry, Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center commander, Brig. Gen. Colin Connor, director of ICBM modernization for the site activation task force, and U.S. Space Force Brig. Gen. Brian Denaro, senior military assistant to the under secretary, also visited the 90th Missile Wing.

“It was a great visit with the Honorable Jones; she and other key leaders came to F.E. Warren to learn more about what we do,” said Col. Johnny Galbert, 90 MW commander. “I am grateful for the opportunity to show firsthand the importance of modernizing the Minuteman III weapon system and the hard work of our Mighty Ninety Airmen in accomplishing our mission every day.”

Jones and the visiting team members went to 20th Air Force headquarters for a mission brief before transitioning to the missile field. They visited Alpha-01, one of 15 MAFs in F.E. Warren AFB’s 9,600 sq-mi missile field. In the underground launch control capsule, Jones talked with the on-alert missileers and learned how they monitor and control their 10 assigned launch facilities. The team also visited and toured a launch facility. There, they spoke with missile maintenance team Airmen about their frequent transit and work to maintain the MMIII weapon system across the missile complex.

“I am inspired by the steadfast dedication exhibited by our Airmen 24 hours a day, seven days a week as they operate on the front lines of our strategic deterrence,” said Jones. “The opportunity to observe their diligence in sustaining the Minuteman III while executing the Sentinel transition has provided me with critical insights, and I am committed to delivering the mission capabilities and quality-of-life improvements they need for continued success.

To end the day, the team flew back to the installation on a UH-1N Huey from the 37th Helicopter Squadron, learning how vital the helicopter is in supporting the mission here and the positive change expected with the arrival of the new MH-139A Grey Wolf in the coming years.

The flight also provided an overhead perspective of the missile field, as well as an understanding of challenges pilots face in transit due to wind turbine farms throughout the flight area. Recently, the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act provided some assistance to ICBM bases facing this concern.

“We are grateful to Congress for protecting the safety of our helicopter crews and the security of our nuclear operations by enacting a 2-mile buffer around ICBM facilities against new construction,” said Beshar. “While this doesn’t affect current encroachment, it will prevent additional risks to our crews who provide vital security and flight operations around our nation’s ICBMs.”