Malmstrom welcomes foreign media with tour of missile facilities
By Airman Elijah Van Zandt, 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
/ Published February 22, 2021
MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- Two reporters from The Asahi Shimbun, a national newspaper in Japan, visited Malmstrom Air Force Base on February 12-17 to report on nuclear modernization and specifically, the transition from the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile to a more survivable and cost-effective weapon system: Global Based Strategic Deterrent.
Mr. Takashi Watanabe and Mr. Peter Loewi, reporters from the newspaper, began their tour of the base with a stop at the Malmstrom Museum, providing them the backstory of Malmstrom’s modernization that has led to the current arsenal of Minuteman III ICBMs.
Tuesday morning they were greeted by Col. Anita Feugate Opperman, 341st Missile Wing commander, for a mission brief and to welcome them to the largest missile field in the United States. Feugate Opperman explained the importance of welcoming foreign media to observe the mission at Malmstrom while highlighting the personnel who are on alert for 24 hours a day to keep the arsenal safe, secure and effective.
“Allowing journalists to observe and report on our mission is critical for transparency and demonstrates these powerful weapons are in the most capable hands,” she said. “Ultimately, our success comes down to our incredible Airmen who sacrifice time away from their family and friends to carry out this extremely important mission.”
The media members visited the missile procedure trainer, a simulated training environment for missileers to practice and test their competence while on duty at a missile alert facility. They were also led through a set of unclassified procedures used to prepare an ICBM for launch, including the symbolic step of turning the key to launch the missile.
The visit concluded with a helicopter transportation from the 40th Helicopter Squadron to a launch facility for a tour of the complex and the following day to the missile handling facility to observe the downstage of the missile, commonly referred to as the booster.