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20th Air Force commander visits New Town for first EIS hearing

  • Published
  • 5th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

The U.S. Air Force hosted the first of seven public hearings in New Town of the Fort Berthold Reservation, North Dakota, on July 19, 2022.


As an integral part of the National Environmental Policy Act, the purpose of the public hearings are to seek comments on the publicly released (July 1) draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Sentinel (formerly known as the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, or GBSD) basing action and Minuteman III demilitarization at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming; Malmstrom AFB, Montana; and Minot AFB, North Dakota.


"These public hearings are intended to provide the public the opportunity to understand and comment on the potential environmental consequences of the proposed Sentinel (GBSD) weapon system, which will modernize and replace Minuteman III flight systems, weapon system command and control, and launch systems including silos, control centers, and other ground infrastructure,” said Russell Bartholomew, a Program Manager assigned to the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center Sentinel Systems Directorate at Hill AFB, Utah. "It's an honor to start the hearings here at the Fort Berthold Reservation, given the long history between the U.S. military and Three Affiliated Tribes."


Bartholomew went on to explain that the TAT refers to the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation, located in central North Dakota.


A small ceremony took place ahead of the public hearing, in which Mark Fox, Chairman of the TAT and Maj. Gen. Michael Lutton, Twentieth Air Force commander, spoke about the significance of continuing to build strong relationships to work together.


“When General Lutton and his staff met with me, they listened patiently as I described this nation, Fort Berthold, and the history that has gotten us to today,” said Fox. “It was a privilege and an honor to share time and a few words with everyone.”


Lutton echoed Fox’s sentiments and shared his appreciation for the future partnership.


"We are so thankful for this time together, and we look forward to the future cooperation as we share our common goal to defend our nation and our land," Lutton said.


In keeping with this tradition, approximately 50 attendees witnessed a Presentation of the Colors by the TAT Nation veterans and a ceremonial dance by The TAT Nation ladies auxiliary.


The Air Force plans to hold six additional in-person public hearings on the following dates at the local times and locations indicated.