Preparing the next generation of missile maintainers

A maintainer stands above a porthole holding a hose.

Airman 1st Class Emilio Gilliam, 341st Missile Maintenance Squadron missile maintenance trainee, performs topside maintenance of a launch facility March 27, 2021, near Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. Trainees work with instructors after arriving to their first duty station to practice critical skills before being assigned to the missile fields. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Elijah Van Zandt)

MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- Missile maintenance instructors are at the forefront of the United States Global Strike Command operations, ensuring personnel are capable in their duties, servicing the most powerful weapon system in the world: the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile.

For Malmstrom’s mission to be executed reliably, maintainers must possess the appropriate skillsets and training to be qualified to work in the missile field. Airmen learn additional skills through on-the-job training, molding them into innovative leaders working to keep Malmstrom’s assets safe, secure and effective.

Staff Sgt. Gilberto Reyesmora and Staff Sgt. Benito Gutierrez, 741st Missile Maintenance Squadron team instructors, provide foundational knowledge that maintainers will use throughout their careers.

“Our career field is unique in that we continue our training upon arriving to our first duty station,” said Reyesmora. “We help hone their skills so when they complete their five-level training, they are able to become more efficient on the job.”

During the initial months of training, instructors teach introductory skills and lead Airmen through practice scenarios of routine maintenance in controlled environments, such as in the T-41 launch facility trainer.

The T-41 is a replica of operational launch facilities throughout the missile fields, with the goal of giving Airmen realistic opportunities to experience challenges they may encounter on a day-to-day basis. The instructors credit working in the T-41 to increasing consistency on the job, which they described as the most critical element to mission success.

“My job is to ensure my students learn how to do their job the right way, every time, without fail,” said Gutierrez. “We’re here to set our Airmen up for success by ensuring they have a complete understanding on how and why something is done.”

The focus on reliability and accuracy in the missile maintenance career field is paramount to providing strategic deterrence, anytime, anywhere.

Once Airmen receive five-level certification, they are ushered into the missile fields as field runners, working to ensure Malmstrom’s ICBMs are ready to launch at a moment’s notice.

Instructors continue to train the next generation of maintainers to lead nuclear surety and missile safety for years to come.

“I like to teach my students to take pride in what they do,” said Reyesmora. “At the end of the day, every maintenance job they take part in effects everyone around the world.”
USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.