MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. --
As we move into 2020, we can’t help but to look back on all the amazing things that Team Minot has accomplished this past year.
From numerous exercises, countless distinguished visitors, inspections and base improvements, our Airmen came together to complete the mission day in and day out, conducting combat sorties and operations to standing watch at missile fields 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. For years Minot Air Force Base has stood and stands as the most strategic Air Force base. With that being said, it’s no wonder why 266 days out of 2019, Team Minot had distinguished visitors with boots on the ground seeing what makes Minot the home of the Global Striker.
Airmen of both the 23rd and 69th Bomb Squadrons provided support to the Continuous Bomber Presence in the Pacific Air Force region. The year-long mission provided assurances of U.S. support to our allies and maintained an environment of peace in the region. In addition they flew 6,100 hours and completed 1,022 sorties in four different areas of responsibility along with contributing to a “perfect execution” of a first ever no-notice dual wing inspection.
Throughout the year, Team Minot completed many exercises aimed at showcasing the importance of rapid deployments to conduct combat operations. These exercises ranged from scenarios where B-52s were launched from multiple locations to strike the same target simultaneously, to assembling an airfield and producing combat sorties in a remote civilian airfield.
For the first time in 10 years, the 5th Civil Engineer Squadron conducted a BIVOUAC exercise in Fargo, North Dakota. This exercise demonstrated the ability of 100 engineers to setup a bare base with an airfield and defend it. This exercise resulted in over 1200 hours of reportable training to Airmen from not only the CES but also the 5th Logistics Readiness Squadron.
Training continues to be an area of importance to all leaders and Airmen at Minot, and to that end, three squadrons teamed up to create a virtual reality threat trainer. With that virtual trainer in place across eight wings, Minot continues to be a hotbed of innovation. To facilitate that innovation, BUFFWERX was born from the Air Force SPARKTANK program. The program allows Airmen to contribute their ideas, fund them and make the Air Force stronger in every way while empowering Airmen with the best tools to complete the mission.
Team Minot continued to set the standard in 2019 by installing the first TCMax automated arming system at the Air Force’s largest dual wing armory that services over 1,500 security forces Airmen and an 8,000 item inventory. TCMax, installed and operated by the same Airmen who use it, reduced the arming time by 35 percent in five different security forces squadron and set the benchmark in AFGSC.
Airmen won nine trophies in the 2019 Global Strike Challenge, where they competed against other bases in Air Force Global Strike Command. The Global Strike Challenge is a competition with the intention to showcase and involve the world’s premier bomber, intercontinental ballistic missile, helicopter operations, maintenance and security forces squadrons.
Team Minot made history with the best Nuclear Surety Inspection in AFGSC history in 2019. The NSI is an inspection with the goal of incorporating maximum nuclear surety from weapon system development to dismantlement. Minot was awarded 14 superior performers and 14 superior team achievements during this inspection.
The superior performance of Minot extends not only to our active duty personnel, but also to our reserve Airmen. On Oct. 26, 2019, history was made when a reserve Airman from the 91st Operations Support Squadron went on “alert” at a missile alert facility. In the 60 years that the Air Force has manned and stood watch over ICBMs, it has never had a reserve Airman complete a 24 hour alert at a MAF.
Active duty Airmen make up most of Team Minot’s driving force, but not all. The 91st Missile Wing integrated over 100 Air National Guard Airmen into the midst of daily missile field ops while maintaining the title of the only nuclear certified Air Reserve Component in the Department of Defense.
While Global Thunder 2019 showcased a majority of the premier capabilities of the B-52, the 91st MW worked hard showcasing the ready to strike capabilities of their world class Airmen and missile field.
For the first time in several years, the blast door to a launch facility, usually housing a Minuteman III ICBM, was opened using focused explosives to test it’s functionality. This test was to assure Minot has the ability to strike anywhere at a moment's notice.
The 91 MW achieved unmatched rates of success during 2019 bringing in four AFGSC top spots, such as best sortie alert, launch facility availability and maintenance rates. These accomplishments were conquered by securing 165 missile field sites, bringing in a 99.3 percent alert rate.
Marking history, the 91st MW brought innovation in 2019, with the first ever 3D printed module in a numbered Air Force. The printed module saved the Air Force 10 million dollars by replacing a 1.6 million dollar asset.
In addition and keeping the theme of innovation, the 91st MW developed a 15 hour tactical response team tryout program for the 91st Security Forces Group’s Tactical Response Force. Lauded by Air Force Headquarters as “best seen to date,” they evaluated 140 Airmen in 2019 for the TRF team. TRF is a special weapons and tactics team tasked with protecting Minot Air Force Base’s nuclear assets.
No award would have been possible without the constant and unrivaled support of the community of Minot. The city of Minot was awarded the Barksdale Trophy, an award only given out every two years for outstanding community support.
Fueled by the support of local legislators, leaders also pressed on to drive the creation of not one, but three state laws benefiting Team Minot Airmen and families. One of which allows spouses of military members to use out-of-state certifications in North Dakota, bringing in more qualified professionals to the community.
Once in the role of most denials for the Exceptional Family Member Program in the past years, Team Minot is now stepping out of that role. Now accommodating 20 percent more EFMP members, Team Minot now offers a newly pioneered telemedicine program at the medical group. Armed with telemedicine, providers are now able to bring in three additional specialities to those families in the EFMP.
From the tireless work of the Airmen and their leaders, the dedication of civilian Airmen, unmatched support of the local community and immeasurable love and backing of military families, Team Minot showcased their ability to stand as the strategic backbone of the United States Air Force and proudly say “Only The Best Come North.” Thank you Team Minot.