HomeNewsArticle Display

Mother-daughter share MMIII test launch experience, decades apart

Woman poses for a photo in a launch control center.

1st Lt. Taylor Tonnies, 742d Missile Squadron operator, Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, poses for a photo prior to the scheduled Minuteman III test launch, Oct. 23, 2020. Operational test launches of unarmed MMIII ICBMs assure Air Force Global Strike Command and our nation that the MMIII weapon system is reliable and capable and provide valuable data to ensure a continued lethal, safe and sure nuclear capability. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Brittany Murphy)

Woman poses for a photo.

Lt. Linda Tonnies poses for a photo during GT155. (Courtesy photo)

Missileers sit in a launch control center.

1st Lt. Taylor Tonnies, 742d Missile Squadron operator, Minot Air Force Base, Minot, sits in a launch control center (LCC) prior to Glory Trip 236 unarmed Minuteman III test launch, Oct. 23, 2020. Operational test launches of unarmed MMIII ICBMs assure Air Force Global Strike Command and our nation that the MMIII weapon system is reliable and capable and provide valuable data to ensure a continued lethal, safe and sure nuclear capability. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Brittany Murphy)

MMIII test launch

Glory Trip 155 Minuteman III test launch on June 8, 1994, as seen from the public viewing area. (Courtesy photo)

Woman poses for photo.

1st Lt. Taylor Tonnies, 742d Missile Squadron operator, Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, poses for a photo prior to Glory Trip 236, Oct. 23, 2020. Operational test launches of unarmed MMIII ICBMs assure Air Force Global Strike Command and our nation that the MMIII weapon system is reliable and capable and provide valuable data to ensure a continued lethal, safe and sure nuclear capability. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Brittany Murphy)

Family poses for a photo.

The Tonnies family poses for a photo (Linda Tonnies, center, Taylor Tonnies, second from left). (Courtesy photo)

F. E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. --

In the early morning of June 8, 1994, a then-1st Lt. Linda Tonnies, 740th Missile Squadron operator, Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, turned the launch key and launched an unarmed Minuteman III ICBM for Glory Trip 155 at Vandenberg AFB, California. Little did she know that 26 years later, her daughter 1st. Lt. Taylor Tonnies, 742d Missile Squadron operator, Minot AFB, would do the same.

Operational test launches of unarmed MMIII ICBMs assure Air Force Global Strike Command and our nation that the MMIII weapon system is reliable and capable and provide valuable data to ensure a continued lethal, safe and sure nuclear capability. The launches also offer an opportunity for operators and maintainers to participate in a once in a lifetime experience of launching an unarmed ICBM.

“It was an incredible experience,” said Linda Tonnies. “The 91st Missile Wing did, and still does, an excellent job of educating the operators about maintenance and security operations, but a Glory Trip is at a different level. Touring the launch facility, meeting and talking with the maintainers adds perspective. Learning about the command center, where the tracking takes place and the decisions were made, added a layer of complexity that I had yet to experience as a lieutenant with no prior Air Force experience.”

Being a missileer was Linda’s dream, one she was able to make come true when she commissioned through Officer Training School in 1991. When she found out her daughter Taylor was selected to be a missileer, she was thrilled.

“I encouraged her to pick missiles from the first day she started at the Air Force Academy,” Linda said.  “As an operator, it’s a tough field, but very rewarding. I’ve always considered missile duty to be the Air Force’s best kept secret. Now, I’m happy to pass the responsibility on to my daughter.”

Taylor, who commissioned through the Air Force Academy in 2018, was one of two missileers who performed the key turn for Glory Trip 236 earlier today. She wasn’t sure about which career path to pursue while she was a student, but her mom’s experience as a missileer helped make her decision a little easier.

“My mom definitely inspired me to be in the Air Force and always told me how great being a missileer was,” Taylor said.  “I think seeing it from her perspective helped me see the career field for what it is.”

Now the mother-daughter duo share a unique experience - they have both launched an unarmed MMIII.

“It's a huge honor for anyone to get chosen for Glory Trip and I'm very glad to be here,” Taylor said. “Having the opportunity to launch a missile is rare, and I couldn't be happier to have this opportunity. I got even more excited to find out that the missile came from Minot and I actually watched it while I was on alert!”

USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.
FacebookFacebook
InstagramInstagram
TwitterTwitter
FlickrFlickr
YouTubeYouTube