By far the hardest task in my role as the Executive Director is tracking and sharing information on the loss of every missileer. April wasn't any different with the loss of MSgt (ret) Ronnie Pope, Lt Col (ret) Tim Christi, Lt Col (ret) Anthony Spaduzzi and Col (ret) Trevor Flint, all way too early in life (and younger than me!) Tony was one of our recent cancer losses and Trevor was a larger than life type guy who will be remembered for his leadership and friendship in both the operations and maintenance communities.
On the brighter side, one of our own was nominated for induction into the North Carolina Military Veteran’s Hall of Fame. Colonel (ret) John Ellen was recognized for his long and dedicated service to North Carolina and the Nation. Congratulations Col Ellen!
In other news…..
Committee Trims Appropriation for Minot’s Base Retention
North Dakota: A legislative conference committee is recommending lawmakers approve $500,000 for Minot’s base retention efforts and preparation for the Air Force’s Sentinel missile upgrade. The amount is less than the $900,000 originally sought for Minot in Senate Bill 2240, which the Senate approved 47-0 in January. The chairman of the conference committee, called the compromise amount inappropriate for Minot.
He noted military bases have a $2.4 billion annual economic impact in North Dakota, adding that the Sentinel missile upgrades will have an additional $3.2 billion impact. The construction project is expected to bring 2,500 to 3,000 workers when it comes to the Minot region.
Want to know more? https://www.minotdailynews.com/news/local-news/2023/04/committee-trims-appropriation-for-minots-base-retention/
China Mid-Course Missile Test
China says it carried out a successful ground-based mid-course missile interception test in an apparent sign of progress in its ability to bring down weapons incoming from space. The Defense Ministry says the operation was carried out late Friday night within Chinese territory and achieved “the desired test objective.”
Want to know more? https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/china-conducted-mid-missile-interception-test-98603053
Military Readiness, New ICBMs Top Air Force Secretary's Visit
Malmstrom AFB:Top U.S. Air Force leadership, including Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall, paid an uncommon visit to Great Falls last Wednesday, stopping to meet directly with service members at Malmstrom Air Force Base and the Montana Air National Guard’s 120th Airlift Wing. The delegation, which also included Lt General Robert Miller, USAF Surgeon General, Major General Michael Lutton, 20th Air Force, Commander, and Col. Tory Woodard, Commander, USAF School of Aerospace Medicine.
Want to know more? https://www.greatfallstribune.com/story/news/local/2023/04/10/air-force-secretary-kendall-visits-great-falls-military-bases/70097348007/
The Last “Final” Alert (aka LFA)
Since missiles have been operational, there has always been a feeling of great accomplishment and an emotional reaction after pulling a last alert. Below are some examples of how crew members have expressed themselves about their LFA:
- To celebrate a crew members LFA, an FM and Security Forces people would form a gauntlet and come to attention when the crew member came out of the FSC’s office. When the crew member stepped outside, two loud booms from a two-potato gun salute was fired.
- One crew member brought out steaks and baked potatoes and grilled them for the troops on site.
- One crew member burned his crew blue shirt along with classified topside in the burn barrel. He was exiting the AF.
- Crew members would leave “messages of inspiration” written on the capsule wall next to the tunnel junction door.
- In the mid 70’s a bottle of unopened champagne was supposedly found on top of the LCC acoustical enclosure. It was covered in dust and dirt and may have been some ones attempt to “christen” the launching of the capsule when it became operational or an LFA. Oh those SAC troops!
- A crew member purchased a bunch of DVDs and donated them to the capsule.
- A crew member took a picture of a flickertail prairie dog, framed it, and dedicated it to the security forces and their superior efforts to “keep” flickertails from unauthorized entry on to LF’s.
- A crew member left confetti in the refrigerator with a note that said, “someone else can clean this refrigerator besides me”. She also included a nice dessert!
- Some crew members have made very special LFA flight suits and took “memorable” pictures of themselves around the MAF.
- A crew member left her “kitty cat” slippers in the LCC for future generations to use.
- A crew member dressed up as General MacArthur and took a picture of himself by the MAF flagpole. You guessed it…caption: “I shall return”.
As highlighted in the April 2023 newsletter, in today’s crew force crew members may not have a real LFA until after they leave the Air Force. Crew members of all ranks, including wing, 20th, and AFGSC staffs pull alerts and are mission combat ready. Still, when they move from one ICBM base to another, they celebrate the LFA at that base…until they return.
James F. Warner