The 91st Missile Wing is an intercontinental ballistic missile wing at Minot Air Force Base, N.D. The 91 MW is one of the Air Force's three ICBM wings. The missile wing is responsible for defending the United States by operating, maintaining and securing a fleet of Minuteman III missiles located in underground launch facilities scattered across the northwest part of the state. The wing's missile complex stretches over 8,500 square miles -- approximately 12% of North Dakota.
To defend the United States with safe, secure and effective ICBMs in support of the President and COCOMs.
American Airmen with special trust and responsibility for the most powerful weapons in our nation's arsenal ... an elite, highly disciplined team ... poised 24/7, to ensure the deterrent capabilities of the United States are ready when called upon.
What We Value
- Individual responsibility for mission success
- Critical self-assessment of our performance
- Uncompromising adherence to all directives
- Superior technical and weapons system expertise
- Pride in our nuclear heritage and mission
- Respect for the worth and dignity of every Airman
- Safety in all things
The missile wing includes a total force of approximately 1,600 Airmen, including enlisted members, officers and civilians.
The 91 MW is an element of Twentieth Air Force and Air Force Global Strike Command. The wing's on-alert missiles remain under the operational control of the nation's strategic war-fighting command, U.S. Strategic Command. The wing's major organizations include three groups and special staff functions.
91st Operations Group
91st Maintenance Group
91st Security Forces Group
America's alert ICBMs are ready to launch on any given day, and America's ICBM team plays a critical role in maintaining global stability and ensuring the nation's safety and security. Approximately 400 Minuteman III missiles provide a critical component of America's on-alert strategic forces. As the nation's "silent sentinels," ICBMs, and the people who operate them, have remained on continuous, around-the-clock alert since 1959.
AFGSC is the Air Force's lead command for and largest operator of UH-1N Iroquois helicopters. The UH-1N supports ICBM operations in missile fields controlled by Minot AFB.
91st Missile Wing Emblem
Blue and yellow are the Air Force colors. Blue alludes to the sky, the primary theater of Air Force operations. Yellow refers to the sun and the excellence required of Air Force personnel. The globe denotes the worldwide range of the wing's weapons. The mailed fist and lightning bolts reflect the speed and power with which the 91 MW is prepared to defend the peace as represented by the olive branch. The stars symbolize the values of integrity, courage, tenacity, competence, and patriotism that are demonstrated by 91st Missile Wing personnel.
The 91st Missile Wing began as the 91st Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, activated on Nov. 10, 1948. The wing, originally equipped with RB-29s, and later RB-45Cs and RB-47s, flew aerial mapping and worldwide strategic reconnaissance missions, sending detachments of personnel and aircraft to England, Morocco and Greenland, as well as providing RB-29s and RB-45s to the Far East Bomber Command during the Korean War.
The wing set records with the RB-45, the world's first multi-engine jet bomber, and pioneered aerial refueling with converted B-29s. On July 14, 1951 a 91st Air Refueling Squadron KB-29 refueled an RB-45 over North Korea, marking the first aerial refueling over enemy territory, and on January 17, 1952, the squadron became the first to transfer more than two million gallons of fuel during aerial refueling operations. On July 29, 1952 a 91st SRW crew earned the MacKay Trophy for making the first non-stop trans-Pacific flight of a multi-engine jet aircraft. The RB-45C required two aerial refueling from KB-29s to make the flight, and all of the aircraft involved in the operation were manned by members of the 91st SRW. After the war, the wing continued operations, sending detachments to fly near or over enemy territory until it's inactivation in November 1957.
The Air Force activated the wing as the 91st Bombardment Wing at Glasgow AFB, Mont., in February 1963. The wing, equipped with B-52C and D bombers and KC-135 tankers, deployed to the Pacific twice, in 1966 and again in 1968, to fly bombing and refueling missions over Southeast Asia. In June 1968, just as the deployed aircraft and personnel were returning to Glasgow AFB, the Air Force closed the base and moved the 91st to Minot to become the 91st Strategic Missile Wing to take over from the 455th Strategic Missile Wing, which inactivated concurrent with the move of the 91st. In 1971, the 91st moved to the forefront of Strategic Air Command's missile force by becoming the first to convert to Minuteman III ICBMs.
The wing was redesignated the 91st Missile Wing in 1991 following a command-wide restructuring program. It joined the newly-activated Air Combat Command later that year following the inactivation of SAC. On July 1, 1993, the wing's command again changed when the Air Force moved the wing to Air Force Space Command. During the summer of 1994, Air Force Space Command redesignated the wing as the 91st Missile Group, but returned it to wing status a year and half later. As part of the Air Force's move to an air and space force, the 91st was redesignated the 91st Space Wing in February 1996. The 91 SW became the 91st Missile Wing on July 1, 2008.
Since coming to Minot, the 91 MW has earned eight Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards and a variety of Air Force, major command and numbered Air Force awards. Air Force Space Command presented the wing the inaugural Gen. Thomas S. Moorman Jr. Trophy as the command's best wing in 1996 and the wing won the distinction again in 2002. Also in 2002, the space wing received U.S. Strategic Command's Omaha Trophy the best wing in the command and the Col Lee R. Williams Memorial Trophy for the best missile wing in the command. The wing brought home the Gen William H. Blanchard Trophy for the best ICBM wing at Guardian Challenge in 2004, and 91st Missile Wing units have earned their share of awards, with the 91st Maintenance Group winning the Col Edward D. Payne award in 2004 and the Gen Thomas P. Gerrity Award in 2004, 2005 and 2006. The 91st Security Support Squadron was named as Air Force Space Command's Outstanding Small Security Forces unit in 2007 and the 91st Operations Support Squadron brought home their seventh Maj Duane W. Hollis Award for best ICBM codes section in 2006.
On Dec. 1, 2009, the missile wing officially transferred from Air Force Space Command to the Air Force's newest major command focused on the nation's nuclear enterprise, Air Force Global Strike Command.