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Farewell Mighty Ninety, God speed

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Marty Anderson
  • 90th Missile Wing command chief

There comes a time when we all receive new orders and must move on to a new assignment. My assignment to Scott Air Force Base, Ill., comes as bittersweet. Kim and I are excited and are looking forward to new challenges but we will miss the many great friends, camaraderie and teamwork here.

We have a lot of special memories, but I have two very special memories that will stay with me forever. The first was back in February 2011. I had the opportunity to observe 90th Missile Maintenance Squadron personnel perform a procedure called "destructive break in" at one of our remote launch facilities. This procedure was required because of an inoperative secondary door, aka the B-Plug. The B-Plug seals the personnel access shaft, denying unauthorized access into the LF. The procedures to get inside a launch facility are extremely complicated, to say the least, when everything is normal; then when you add a broken B-Plug, the degree of difficulty changes considerably. If this task wasn't challenging enough, the teams also had to deal with minus 25 degree wind chills and blowing snow.

In order to accomplish this task, it requires a team effort. First, a civil engineer team had to break through concrete and cut rebar for several days. This caused the security forces to post camper teams on the site. Then, after the maintenance team completed repair of the B-Plug, civil engineers had to repair the rebar and concrete. The camper teams were required to guard the site until the concrete cured.

What impressed me most was the fact that not one person complained about the task at hand or the cold. We all stood out in the cold for hours upon hours. In fact it appeared they actually relished in the challenge of it all. Not a person was looking for an excuse to sit in a truck; they were actually pushing each other out of the way so they could be involved in the task.

The second memory I will always treasure was during the Air Force Global Strike Challenge Competition held at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., last October. This competition consisted of wings competing in operations, maintenance and security forces exercises to see who is the best ICBM or Bomber Wing within the command. Our security forces team, consisting of six defenders, was participating in a grueling physical and mental course that took more than an hour to complete. As the entire competition team, consisting of 50 members and the wing and group leadership, was watching and cheering our security forces team on, it was very evident how demanding this course was. As the team was finishing the last challenge, they had to run more than 500 yards to the finish line where they all had to touch a Humvee in order to stop the clock.

As the defenders started to run, the entire competition team including wing and group leadership started to run with the defenders to encourage and show our support as they exerted every last amount of energy sprinting towards the finish line. What also grabbed my attention was all six team members touched the Humvee at the same time. No Airman was left behind!

These behaviors demonstrate why the Mighty Ninety was selected as the Best ICBM Wing and why we won the Blanchard Trophy two years in a row. We consistently talk about teamwork, character and toughness. After witnessing these two specific events, there is no doubt in my mind we have it here. This attitude permeates within the entire wing from our security forces, support, operational and medical personnel. No one gets to say, "It's too cold outside, I don't want to go!" or "This is too difficult, I can't do it!" Our Airmen are professionals and dedicated to mission accomplishment and won't stop until the assigned task is completed.

It has been a great and wonderful ride. I will miss being part of the Mighty Ninety! Best wishes and God Speed!