Not your average cable company

  • Published
  • By Chris Willis
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
If you live in any of the nine counties surrounding Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana, you might find yourself directly above one of the 2,100 miles of active cables maintained by the 341st Missile Maintenance Squadron cable section.

"Our mission is to protect and repair the Hardened Intersite Cable Systems that connects all the missile sites to the launch control centers," said Mike Best, 341st MMXS chief of cable affairs and HICS maintenance. "Without those cables the missile will have no way of getting commands."

The section is divided into two subsections; cable affairs and HICS maintenance. Together they provide information technology and resources to operate and maintain command and control systems for Malmstrom's 150 Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles.

"We are the biggest little shop you've never heard of," said Best. "Most people will never hear about what we do but as long as we are doing our job and our cables don't get damaged, the military and public is happy and nobody even notices we were there."

The cable affairs section maintains and manages HICS Right-Of-Way, records for more than 2,000 land owners, tenants' tract files and database. The section monitors and tracks all activities affecting ROW coordinating with more than 650 public and private utilities.

"Our first goal is preventative, keeping in contact with land owners or developers," said Best. "We help them plot where our cables are and dig around them. We also respond to the regional "One Call, 811" agency to locate our cables for the public just like any buried utility."

The HICS maintenance section is responsible for the physical maintenance of the cable pneumatic pressurization and monitoring system, 2,100 miles of active cable sheath, and 7,200 splice cases buried across the 13,800 square mile missile complex.

"If there is an incident, we respond rapidly," said Best. "We can quickly fix damages and then come back the next day for a permanent repair."

This region's complex cable system is kept operational by the cable affairs and HICS maintenance section. Together, the two sections make sure Airmen in the launch control centers are constantly connected. 

"We ensure a high level service for the wing's mission, to defend America with safe, secure, effective nuclear forces and combat-ready Airmen," said Best.