91st Missile Wing Simulates Launch - KMOT.COM - Minot, ND - News, Weather, Sports

91st Missile Wing Simulates Launch

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As you drive along North Dakota highways, you may feel surrounded by open land.  But, underground, there are 150 Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Sites throughout the state.The Air Force has an important job of securing the nation's nuclear assets, making sure they are ready to use at any time.        

Lima Missile Alert Facility is situated near Bowbells, North Dakota.

"We house our security forces, our missile alert facility manager, as well as our chef and crew downstairs that takes care of operating the missile complex," explains 742nd Missile Squadron commander Chris Cruise.

It's a 24/7, 365 day mission, which airmen must be prepared to carry out at any time.  That's why the 91st Missile Wing conducted a Simulated Electronic Launch-Minuteman or SELM operational test at its Lima Alert Facility.

"This test, which is done only at the missile wing, validates the intercommunication between each launch facility and the missile alert facility and the launch control center, specifically, to make sure the weapon system does operate as advertised," says Cruise.

"There's a lot of checks and balances that go into this process," explains 742 Squadron missileer Sean Raymond.  "This exercise is to make sure that nothing that we're doing is going to put anything in harms way."

During the test, the facility becomes a home away from home for airmen.  Day and night side crew members rotate in and out of their assigned positions, so they can sleep and eat.

"Oh, I love to cook out here. I'll make anything. I like to make, I guess, the home-cooked meals," says 742 Squadron chef Amber Hernandez.

"Our primary job is to make sure nothing goes wrong in the night time that could hinder the exercise from the next day," says Raymond.

While there are procedural trainings airmen complete on a regular basis, this specific exercise allows them to operate the counsel in a real-world environment.

"Everything has gone according to the test procedures.  There were a few things that we weren't expecting, but nothing outside of our tech data, things we have certainly trained for, but we just don't see too often," says 742 Squadron missileer Patrick Crawford.

But, if anything would have went wrong, Cruise says the issues would have been addressed immediately. 

"An analysis team would have actually processed the test sequence document just exactly the way it was written to find out what happened in the weapon system and they go back and look at where the piece of the test might have gone wrong," says Cruise.

The test was 100 percent successful and all of the goals were met. 

The weapon system is currently in the process of being restored back to its operational configuration. 



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