The Minuteman III legacy – a tradition of excellence, ingenuity and lethality

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Lee Payne
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs

The MMIII has formed the United States’ nuclear deterrence bedrock since the 1970s.  This weapon system is attributed with a solid-fuel rocket motor for rapid launch, inertial guidance system and survival features, making it a formidable weapon system in any type of environment.

This cornerstone of national defense has undergone numerous modernizations to maintain its effectiveness against the enemy and prolong its service life. One of the most significant upgrades was the installation of the Rapid Execution and Combat Targeting Console (REACT). The combination of REACT and MMIII significantly shortened MMIII retargeting and launch timeline, providing the capability to meet the needs of the President of the United States and the Commander, United States Strategic Command.

Despite coming modernizations and the transition to the Sentinel ICBM program, it is imperative that the MMIII remain fully operational. Leading this charge is Malmstrom’s Command and Control Working Group.

This working group has been tasked with identifying potential issues with the MMIII early and developing solutions for sustainability. Capt. Tyler Selfridge, Capt. Reagan Batson and 1st Lt. William Daniel from the 10th Missile Squadron started this initiative, and worked with Lt. Col. Mike Bergeron and Chief Master Sgt. Michael Shedd from the 341st Maintenance Group, to create a team of experts from the 341 MG and 341st Operations Group.

This team the joined with Capt. Andrew Pope, 2nd Lt. Jakob Warner, Tech. Sgt. Eric Houghton, Staff Sgt. Rex Lau, Mark Heims and Mr. Mark Mallory from the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center’s Malmstrom Technical Engineering Flight as the founding members of Malmstrom Air Force Base Command and Control Working Group.

This proactive working group has already accomplished a lot, including fusing data gathered from weapon systems tests to prioritize maintenance actions in the field and enhancing the MMIII’s combat capability. They have also worked with Capt. Blaine Hart from the 341st Operations Support Squadron Intelligence Flight to research and develop briefings that detail why the continued combat capability of MMIII is critically important.

These efforts have yielded two major results: making the MMIII weapon system even more lethal and providing important insight to the Airmen who operate and maintain MMIII. This insight allows them to develop into the nuclear professionals the United States will need to lead the Sentinel program and nuclear deterrence operations during the era of great power competition.

This team has been lauded by the Commander, Air Force Global Strike Command and the Commander, Twentieth Air Force for their contributions to the ICBM enterprise and to the defense of the nation.