Fifty years ago today, the first Minuteman III ICBM went on nuclear alert in the 741st Missile Squadron at Minot AFB, ND. On its watch, the Cold War ended, non-state terrorism took center stage, and great-power competition returned to dominate the global environment. Yet every day for half a century, the United States, our allies, and our adversaries respected and feared the lethality and readiness of Minuteman III.
But the missile itself is only a part of the equation; the weapon system’s lethality and readiness are underpinned and assured by the Airmen who operate, maintain, defend, and support it. Chief Orf and I salute each of you, as well as those earlier generations of Minuteman III warriors, for 50 continuous years of defending the United States with this combat-ready nuclear force.
Michael J. Lutton
Major General, USAF
Commander, Twentieth Air Force
Charles C. Orf
Chief Master Sergeant, USAF
Command Chief Master Sergeant, Twentieth Air Force