by Master Sgt. Timothy Jenkins
Air Force Global Strike Command Public Affairs
10/21/2015 - VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- A
team of Air Force Global Strike Command Airmen from the 90th Missile
Wing at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming, launched an unarmed
Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile equipped with a test
reentry vehicle today at 5:45 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time from Vandenberg
Air Force Base, Calif.
The ICBM's reentry vehicle, which contained a telemetry package used for
operational testing, traveled approximately 4,200 miles to the
Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. Test launches verify the
accuracy and reliability of the ICBM weapon system, providing valuable
data to ensure a continued safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent.
1st Lt. Daniel Uresti Jr. is a 320th Missile Squadron combat crew
commander. He said participating in a test launch is rewarding in that
he can see the aspects of missile activities he doesn't typically get to
"To see the components being built up and talk to the maintenance
personnel has been extremely rewarding," said Uresti, a Texas A&M
University alumni from San Antonio, Texas. "It helps bridge the gap
between operator and maintenance terminology and helps us to understand
just how difficult their jobs really are...especially when the weather
is bad. These guys still get the mission done."
AFGSC's missile bases have crew members standing alert 24-7 year round,
overseeing the nation's ICBM alert forces. Uresti said test launches
give the ICBM force an opportunity to show the world that the U.S. has
the capability and will to use these weapons should it be necessary.
"We stand ready, every minute of every day, and we know our jobs well,"
Uresti said. "We literally hold the keys to the most powerful weapons
ever developed and we ensure the safety and reliability of these
Test launches are conducted with randomly selected ICBMs from one of
three missile bases, located at F.E. Warren, Malmstrom AFB, Montana, and
Minot AFB, North Dakota. While at Vandenberg AFB, launch teams work
under the direction of Air Force Global Strike Command's 576th Flight
Test Squadron and receive launch and range support from Air Force Space
Command's 30th Space Wing.
Senior Airman Joshua Isom, a 90th Missile Maintenance Squadron
electro-mechanical team chief, said it's an honor to represent the 90th
MW in a test launch.
"It feels really great to be recognized and offered the chance to be a
part of something not many people in this career field get to
experience," Isom said. "As a missile maintainer, it is pretty awesome
to help in the mission of providing the President of the United States
with a capable nuclear deterrent."
As an EMT team chief, Isom, a Henderson, Nevada, native, leads Airmen
dispatched to missile fields located throughout Wyoming, Colorado and
Nebraska. His team troubleshoots electrical and mechanical systems, such
as the ground support equipment, security system, entry system to the
site, as well as load the Missile Guidance System located on the
He said working as a team with other organizations at Vandenberg AFB has
helped him to see the bigger picture and value of ICBM operations.
"Everyone here at the 576th Flight Test Squadron has done an outstanding
job in making sure we have everything to do our job safely, securely
and effectively," Isom said. "I've learned so much on how the 576th test
launches the Minuteman ICBM and how it's tracked during the many stages
The ICBM community, including the Department of Defense, the Department
of Energy, and U.S. Strategic Command uses data collected from test
launches for continuing force development evaluation. The ICBM test
launch program demonstrates the operational credibility of the Minuteman
III and ensures the United States' ability to maintain a strong,
credible nuclear deterrent as a key element of U.S. national security
and the security of U.S. allies and partners.
"As operators, we know our jobs inside and out. Our maintenance
personnel are extremely knowledgeable and capable of building up a
missile quickly and together we can ensure we get 'bombs on target,"'
Uresti said. "The ICBM mission isn't glamorous. The elements can be
harsh and capsule life can be rigorous but we know the importance of
what we do."