F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, WY -- The Mighty Ninety guided 21 civic leaders from across the wing’s missile field area of responsibility on a trip to Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, and Vandenberg Space Force Base, California, Feb. 8-10, 2023.
The trip was meant to show community leaders what it means to be a Striker and how F.E. Warren Air Force Base fits into the Air Force Global Strike Command mission.
“Air Force Global Strike Command has a vital mission to national security by providing nuclear deterrence," said Col. Robert Ford Jr., 90th Security Forces Group commander and 90th MW Civic Leader Tour escort. "I'm excited for the opportunity to bring our local civic leaders to visit our fellow Strikers at Ellsworth. It's important to show them what the bomber side of the Global Strike mission is all about as the enterprise works modernization efforts."
CLT 2023 had a flying start thanks to the Wyoming Air National Guard. Taking off from Cheyenne Regional Airport, many of the civic leaders, including a Nebraska state senator, mayor of Cheyenne, members of the Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce, and educators and administrators from across the 90 MW’s area of responsibility, flew on a C-130 Hercules for the first time.
Arriving at Ellsworth, the Civic leaders received a tour of the 28th Maintenance Group Manufacturing Flight, where they saw a demonstration of the capabilities of cold spray manufacturing, an innovative process that took weeks of B-1B Lancer repairs down to mere hours.
After a bus ride to the 37th Bomb Squadron for a mission brief with Col. Joseph Sheffield, commander of the 37th Bomb Wing, the civic leaders learned about one of the many bomber-led missions of AFGSC and how Ellsworth is modernizing their facilities in preparation for the arrival of the B-21 Raider.
Later in the day, the civic leaders were given the opportunity to tour a B1-B, receive a munitions brief and watch a Lancer take off on a training mission.
That night, through the combined efforts of the 28 BW and the 90th Missile Wing’s Public Affairs and Protocol teams, a civic leader dinner was hosted at the Alex Johnson Hotel in Rapid City, South Dakota. The dinner gave community leaders from Ellsworth the opportunity to connect with F.E. Warren’s local leaders.
The next day and after another flight, the team arrived at Vandenberg Space Force Base and toured the Space and Missile Heritage Center, seeing a collection of artifacts ranging from the Cold War to the Modern Era.
That night, the civic leaders toured the 377th Test and Evaluation Group, receiving a briefing regarding the 377th’s mission and the importance of test launches and the data retrieved from them.
After touring the 377 TEG, the CLT made its way to the ICBM Launch Support Center and the ICBM Telemetry Integration Processing System, where they received tours of both.
The tour then moved by bus to Missile Alert Facility 01E to view the Glory Trip 245 missile launch, right on schedule at 11:01 pm that night and disappearing into the night less than a minute later.
For many of those civic leaders who participated, there were no shortages of "favorite" parts of the trip, but for some, it was the opportunity to interact with Airmen of different missions that what they may be used to at F.E. Warren. f
"One of the highlights of the trip for me was hearing the pride in the voices of the Airmen as they described their jobs in support of the mission," said Carolyn Ritschard, AFGSC civic leader. "Another favorite was the watching the missile launch, where the excitement and energy of those watching it - especially of the Airmen on alert - was palpable."
“The Civic Leader Tour was a huge success and I couldn’t be happier with the results,” said Capt. Paige Skinner, 90 MW Public Affairs Community Engagement Chief. “I want to thank our civic leaders and the bases we visited for their time and the opportunity to show everyone what Air Force Global Strike Command is all about.”