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Maintaining readiness, 24/7/365

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Elijah Van Zandt
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs

The 341st Missile Maintenance Squadron’s generation flight is tasked with the responsibility of maintaining and inspecting Malmstrom’s arsenal of intercontinental ballistic missile, while ensuring nuclear deterrence and readiness, 24/7/365.

To maximize nuclear readiness, the flight is organized into different maintenance sections which allows Airmen to be uniquely trained to specialize in maintaining different portions of the missile.

According to 2nd Lt. James Purdy, 341st MMXS missile maintenance team officer in-charge, Airmen and re-trained NCO’s receive additional specialized schooling once they arrive to the installation from tech school.

“Extra education is essential because personnel are assigned very specialized roles within our teams,” he said. “Ultimately, the success of the mission comes down to the technical skills of our Airmen who are ensuring all of our missiles are operational and lethal.”

There are four primary sections of the generation flight, which include the missile maintenance team, electric-mechanical team, facilities maintenance team and the missile handling team.

Tech. Sgt. Stephen DiNoble, 341st MMXS team chief, is a part of the missile maintenance team who focuses on preventative missile maintenance as well as the installation and removal of the missile from launch facilities.
He agrees readiness is the key factor allowing the 341st MMXS to continue successful operations.

“All our technicians, team chiefs and critical task supervisors are available to dispatch for up to 15-hours a day for missile maintenance,” he said. “My job personally is to lead four technicians through the tasks at a missile site and serve as an extra set of eyes to make sure the job is performed with zero mistakes.

“Not only are the Airmen turning wrenches playing an essential role in mission completion, but the site supervisors provide a critical piece of the puzzle by serving as a source of experience and knowledge,” said DiNoble.
When maintenance teams are not in the missile fields turning wrenches, they are staying compliant by completing training and inspections.

Recently, multiple units from Malmstrom AFB, including the 341st MMXS, participated in the nuclear surety inspection, which is an annual inspection to ensure Airmen comply with procedures involving the safety, security and control of nuclear weapons.

“Our Airmen crushed the NSI, earning themselves the designation of a ‘Professional Team’, due to their high performance during the inspection,” said DiNoble. “We also sent a team to Vandenberg Space Force Base, where they assembled a missile for test launch, marking the first test launch since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”

By exemplifying readiness, the 341st MMXS ensures the reliability of America’s nuclear arsenal across Malmstrom’s 13,800 square mile missile complex.