Rough Riders shatter alert rate record

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, ND -- For the fourth year in a row a Minot Air Force Base unit ended the year in first place.

The 91st Space Wing achieved the best Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile alert rate in Air Force Space Command for 2005 with a 99.82 percent alert rate – the highest ever for a Minuteman system.

The alert rate is the percentage of Minuteman III ICBMs on alert and ready to launch. The 91st SW’s previous best alert rate was a 99.73 percent in 2003. The 91st SW, or the Rough Riders as they are known here, shattered the previous top alert rate of 99.76 percent set by Grand Forks AFB, N.D. in 1996.

“A 99.82 percent alert rate for the wing’s fleet is a remarkable achievement for the Rough Riders,” said Col. Dan Adams, 91st SW commander. “Once again, the Rough Riders are the best in the business, Bully!”

According to Col. Russell Porter, 91st Maintenance Group commander, doing the job right the first time, every time, is the key to a successful alert rate.

“Another job done right is our motto,” he said. “An alert rate this high for this many years is a testament to the work ethic of the Airmen here at Minot.”

Involved in keeping the missiles on alert are several crews and shops. The missile combat crews, missile maintenance operations center, maintenance teams and security forces are just a few of the many components supporting Minot’s ICBM force.

“It takes a total team effort to achieve a 99.82 percent alert rate,” said Col. Daniel Ciechanowski, 91st Operations Group commander. “Maintainers, security forces, crew members, helicopter crews and all support personnel both on-and off-base can take great pride in achieving this record breaking achievement. I’m particularly proud of our chefs and facility managers who bed down our personnel deployed in the field and feed them hot and nutritious meals.”

“Much of the work done by the Airmen supporting the ICBM force goes unnoticed,” said Col. John McBrien, 91st Security Forces Group commander. “This record alert rate is a visible testament to the effort the unseen Airmen put forward.”

Minot’s Air Combat Command host unit, the 5th Bomb Wing, is also involved in supporting the 91st SW’s ICBM force.

“The Weapons Storage Area, 5th Civil Engineer Squadron, 5th Logistics Readiness Squadron and the 5th Communications Squadrons are a few of the groups that provide support to our ICBM force,” said Colonel Porter.

The Airmen supporting the ICBM force here face many obstacles and challenges unique to Minot that can hinder a successful alert rate.

“The weather is a hardship for the troops working in it,” said Colonel Porter. “Not only does the weather affect the chill factor but it affects the road conditions, obstructing our daily operations. Despite the cold conditions, the Airmen here have the right attitude and a high morale.”

The space wing is looking forward to another successful year and perhaps a fifth year at the top of AFSPC.

“Every year is its own year,” said Colonel Porter. “Hopefully with our constant modernizing of the weapons system and our continued dedication to excellence we can improve upon 2005’s alert rate. But our main focus is to maintain safety and security at all times. This four year streak cannot be attributed to any one person. I think the future Airmen that will come to Minot will carry on this tradition of excellence.”
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