HomeNewsFeatures

Feature Search

MMXS: maintaining the ICBM force

Airman 1st Class Leslie Friestad, 90th Maintenance Operations Squadron, performs maintenance on a missile guidance set during missile maintenance training in the U-01 practice launch facility on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Aug. 4, 2014. The practice launch facility prepares Airmen for the rigorous maintenance they will have to routinely conduct on actual missiles as part of their duties. (U.S. Air Force photo by Lan Kim)

Airman 1st Class Leslie Friestad, 90th Maintenance Operations Squadron, performs maintenance on a missile guidance set during missile maintenance training in the U-01 practice launch facility on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Aug. 4, 2014. The practice launch facility prepares Airmen for the rigorous maintenance they will have to routinely conduct on actual missiles as part of their duties. (U.S. Air Force file photo by Lan Kim)

Airman 1st Class Michael Ocampo and Airman 1st Class Leslie Friestad, both in the 90th Missile Maintenance Squadron, lower a beam to be secured to the missile guidance set during missile maintenance training in the U-01 practice launch facility on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Aug. 4 2014. These Airmen will continue on to maintaining the nation’s Minuteman III weapons system as part of their routine tasks and duties. (U.S. Air Force photo by Lan Kim)

Airman 1st Class Michael Ocampo and Airman 1st Class Leslie Friestad, both in the 90th Missile Maintenance Squadron, lower a beam to be secured to the missile guidance set during missile maintenance training in the U-01 practice launch facility on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Aug. 4 2014. These Airmen use the practice facility to prepare for maintenance on active ICBMs. (U.S. Air Force file photo by Lan Kim)

F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. -- The 90th Missile Wing, along with the 341st and 91st missile wings, supply the nation with a nuclear deterrence against potential adversaries.

In-order to accomplish this, each wing must rely on its maintenance group to keep the ICBMs in top-performing shape.

"Our piece of the wing's mission ensures that reliable, launch-ready ICBMs will successfully complete their mission, should operators be called upon to turn keys," said Chief Master Sgt. Jason Hager, 90th Missile Maintenance Squadron superintendent. 

The mission of the 90th MMXS is to maintain the wing's Minuteman III ICBM arsenal, to include the launch and missile alert facilities - safely, securely and effectively.

"There are many ways we attack our part of the mission," Hager said. "It begins with a robust and comprehensive periodic maintenance program where maintainers disassemble, lubricate, adjust and operationally test every system. Keeping these systems in good working order with quality periodic maintenance is critical to maintain a viable nuclear deterrent."

Though daily tasks are designed to prevent issues from arising, the second half of the squadron's focus is on reactionary maintenance.

"When something goes wrong or part of the weapon system fails, we dispatch technicians with the appropriate capabilities to repair those systems," Hager said. "This ensures that we keep the weapon system in the highest state of combat readiness possible with the resources we're provided."

As a way to showcase their skills, the 90th MW and the maintenance squadron participated in a practice missile launch at Vandenburg Air Force Base, California.

Hager said the 90th MMXS contributed by removing the missile components from a launch facility here, traveling with the pieces to Vandenburg, then reassembling the apparatus and preparing it for the test launch.

Three maintenance teams traveled to Vandenburg to ensure a smooth launch on March 23, 2015. Air Force Global Strike Command conducts test launches four times a year, with each of the three missile wings taking one a year, and the last launch rotating between the wings. This is Warren's year to have that last launch.

The teams that traveled to Vandenburg were the missile maintenance team, the missile handling team and the electro-mechanical team.

The MMT transported, inspected and removed the propulsion system, guidance system and re-entry system of the ICBM; the MHT transported, installed and removed the booster system of the ICBM, and the EMT section maintained the launch electronics, security systems and power supplies.

Though the three teams worked together during the test launch, they rely on the other four teams to tackle their normal mission.

"It's a big team effort," said Senior Airman Steven Carlson, 90th MMXS EMT. "Without the support of the other teams, our mission could not be accomplished."

The hardened inter-site cable system section, facilities maintenance section, survivable systems team and the missile communications maintenance team perform support roles to ensure responsibilities are accomplished every day.

"The squadron is like a bicycle chain," Carlson said. "If a single link is missing, we cannot function."

While working to perform their mission, the Airmen in the MMXS take pride in their work and in the knowledge on how they affect the U.S.

"I enjoy my job," Carlson said. "It brings me peace of mind knowing that we help keep the country safe with the work we do. It helps me sleep at night"