20th Air Force commander and command chief honor MMIII anniversary

Sentinel Warriors,

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