Minuteman III's 50th Anniversary
By Airman 1st Class Caleb S. Kimmell, 91st Missile Wing
/ Published August 19, 2020
MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. --
On 19 August 1970, Strategic Air Command placed the first flight of 10 Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles on alert at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota. After its emplacement at the 741st Strategic Missile Squadron, the Minuteman III has stood watch for 50 years as the nation’s strategic deterrent.
The LGM-30G Minuteman ICBM is an element of the nation's strategic deterrent forces under the control of the Air Force Global Strike Command. The "L" in LGM is the Department of Defense designation for silo-launched; "G" means surface attack; and "M" stands for guided missile.
The Minuteman III had an original planned service life of 10 years. A series of life extension programs have kept the Minuteman III viable and fielded, making it the oldest deployed strategic ballistic missile in the world, serving uninterrupted for five decades.
Until full capability of its successor, the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, is achieved in the mid-2030s, Minuteman III will continue to serve as part of the nation’s global strike force.
Weighing in at 79,432 pounds and having a maximum range of roughly 6,000 miles, ICBMs are combat capable, 24/7/365, providing a second strike capability and the ability to be launched even when under attack.
Since the first flight in 1970, the Minuteman III has served as the bedrock of strategic stability, making Team Minot the premier striker base.