Malmstrom mission orientation

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Delia Marchick
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs

When first arriving at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont., Airmen are required to attend either a First Term Airman Center or Right Start briefing. Both of these programs provide pertinent information and services available to all incoming Airmen whether they are new to the military or just new to the base.

At Malmstrom, both FTAC and Right Start attendees have the opportunity to go on a mission orientation tour to familiarize themselves with the unique mission and an understanding of the careers around the base.

The mission tours were implemented last year in correlation with the Force Improvement Program initiative to provide newcomers with a better understanding of what a day in the missile field is like for the Airmen.

"The program actually began after the FIP," said 1st Lt. Micheal Kraft, 12th Missile Squadron ICBM combat crew instructor. "During the improvement program, several groups of Airmen at Malmstrom had voiced concern about mission overlap on base. Many felt that they weren't familiar with other missions on base and Col. Wilcox (341st Missile Wing Commander) wanted to facilitate more mission overlap for incoming Airmen." 

Malmstrom's mission orientation created an opportunity to visit organizations that attendees normally wouldn't have access to. This helps put the pieces of the puzzle together and help Airmen not only see where they fit in the mission of the base, but also learn more about Global Strike Command operations and better understand nuclear deterrence.

"This tour gives a good overview of the different missions on base that you don't get to experience every day," said Kraft. "It allows each Airman to overlap with people from different fields and see this mission in a different perspective."

The mission orientation tour starts with a tour of the missile procedures trainer, where attendees get to watch a training simulation. Missileers demonstrate what a normal 24-hour shift is like, as they go through their checklists and respond to simulated alerts and processes. The tour members are then given the opportunity to sit in the seats and take turns playing the role of a missileer.

The tour then stops at the 40th Helicopter Squadron for a briefing and an up-close tour of the base's UH-1N helicopters. Airmen also get to interact with 341st Security Forces Group Tactical Response Force Airmen and see tactical equipment used on the job. The tour also includes insight into the convoy response force, weapons storage area, base museum, a chance to explore the T-9 maintenance trainer and simulated launch facility, and learn more about the roles Malmstrom Airmen play in nuclear forces.

"The tour focuses a great deal on missile operations from the perspective of the operations group, missile maintenance group, and security forces group," said Kraft. "(Attendees) will get a chance to turn keys and simulate a launch in the missile procedures trainer and see the helicopters up close. They'll get to learn from both the convoy and tactical response forces, get an overview of the WSA, and experience a simulated launch facility as well.

"One of my favorite parts about this program is we really utilize our feedback," he continued. "We have added in tours and taken some out based on feedback from our attendees. Obviously, we can't fly everybody in a helicopter, go on a convoy and see a MAF in one day, but I think this gives a great overview of how our missions overlap at Malmstrom and shows what a lot of our operations entail."

The tours are offered monthly as part of Right Start or FTAC, with additional base populous tours. Depending on the number of people in Right Start and FTAC, the tours are adjusted.

"In the past couple of months we have been only able to take FTAC on our tours," said 2nd Lt. Alexander Muhlenbeck, 341st Operations Support Squadron deputy missile combat crew instructor. "Within the next couple months the tour will be provided for FTAC and people going through the Right Start program." 

"FTAC classes (being first-term Airmen) have not experienced the missions of this base before, while many Right Start attendees have either been here before or at a different nuclear base," said Kraft. "Therefore, we aim to take the FTAC classes first and then take Right Start attendees. These numbers fluctuate each month. We've had entire months of FTAC, entire months of Right Start, and everything in between."

"As of right now we have filled our spots for the base populous tour on March 19," said Muhlenbeck. "However, we are planning to run another base populous tour in April with more details to come."

Anyone that has not had the opportunity to go on the mission orientation tour can sign up by calling Muhlenbeck at 731-7681 or 731-6950.