Nuclear maintenance Airmen: safe, secure, effective

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Daniel Brosam
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs

The 341st Missile Maintenance Squadron maintains the immediate launch readiness of 150 Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles and 15 missile alert facilities spread over a 13,800-square mile missile complex throughout Montana.


They replace limited life components, remove and replace missiles, reentry systems and guidance sets, repair security, command and control, electrical systems and environmental control systems.


Technicians also conduct periodic maintenance inspections and perform corrosion control work to sustain launch facilities and missile alert facilities.


To ensure these Airmen make it to their location safely and securely, each day they must thoroughly inspect the truck and tractor they drive out to the field.


“The inspection consists of anything from checking the tires’ air pressure and tread depth to damage on the interior or exterior and making sure everything is tied down and ready to go to the field,” said Staff Sgt. Austin Hoyt, 373rd Training Squadron NCO in charge of special purpose vehicle operations training. “Using their technical data and doing a thorough checkout ensures we don’t miss anything.”


The Airmen also check for missing items, fluid levels, winch and tow connections, and safety devices.


“We teach the students to go above and beyond when it comes to their inspections because we want them to be able to anticipate anything going wrong,” Hoyt said. “If they find anything miniscule, it could cause a lot of additional time out in the field.”


Hoyt said their furthest job site is a 3.5-hour drive each way and there is no margin for error.


“Our goal is to prevent loss of man hours and longer job completion times,” Hoyt said.


Staff Sgt. Timothy Bryant, 373rd TRS SPVO instructor, said it is important to teach Airmen to inspect their vehicles because one small problem could cause something serious to go wrong.


“It’s why we teach them to thoroughly inspect their vehicles,” Bryant said. “It can delay their departure, extend the duty day and potentially hinder mission success.”