Weapons safety ensures ICBM effectiveness

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Malcolm Mayfield
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs
Editor's note: This is the second article in a series focusing on the sections that form the F.E. Warren safety office.

The 90th Missile Wing's mission is to defend America with the world's premier combat ready ICBM force, and ensuring the safe execution of the mission is the prime focus of the 90th MW Safety Office.

"Safety is a huge, huge part of what we do," said Staff Sgt. Kevin Cain, 90th Missile Maintenance Squadron weapons safety representative. "[Everything comes] back to us having to abide by safety, whether it's weapons safety or ground safety, whatever the case may be, to make sure we do the job safe, secure, and effectively."

When it comes to the weapons safety section's realm of control, it is divided into three areas: nuclear surety, missile safety and explosive safety.

The section conducts inspections to verify each of these areas are being safely executed by the Warren Airmen.

"There is almost nothing on this base that we do as a wing that you can't somehow pull back or relate to nuclear surety," said Donald Koenig, 90th MW Safety Office explosive safety superintendent.

Richard Mullee, 90th MW Safety Office missile safety superintendent, explains that the importance of the ICBMs the wing is responsible for is immense. Weapons safety focuses on verifying that the assets the base operates are maintained and secured safely.

"We do a lot of operating instruction review, checklist review, hands on inspection," Koenig said. "I'd say about 90% of our job is inspecting, making sure the young troops are out there doing what they need to be doing."

Mullee said the office conducts annual safety inspections of various units on base. Their goal is to prevent damage to equipment and to prevent injury to Airmen.

"The Airmen are the mission," Koenig said. "We are three old, crusty senior NCOs that have had our career, so we use our experience to make sure things are done right, but the young Airmen are the ones that turn the wrenches."

Cain said the guidelines that regulate base operations are necessary and that the Airmen accomplishing the mission every day, the ones in the action turning the wrench, need to keep to those guidelines.

"Whenever I'm training brand new individuals, the biggest thing is safety," Cain said. "[Lack of safety] could cause you to harm and lose one of your most important resources, which is the individual."

He added that the weapons safety office keeps Airmen focused on accomplishing the mission in a safe manner because Airmen are the Air Force's number one resource and are vital for a secure environment, especially when dealing with the Air Force's number one priority - the nuclear deterrence mission.