More people will be added to missile forces

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE Maj. Gen. Jack Weinstein, commander of 20th Air Force, says that command will get about 741 people, some of them coming to Minot Air Force Base to the 91st Missile Wing, as a result of the Nuclear Force Improvement Program that the Air Force launched earlier this year to strengthen the Air Force’s nuclear mission.

Weinstein, as commander of 20th Air Force at F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo., is responsible for the nation’s intercontinental ballistic missile force. The force is organized into three operational wings with more than 9,600 people. Minot AFB’s 91st Missile Wing is one of the three operational wings.

On Tuesday, Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., announced that more people will be assigned to Minot AFB. His announcement came following a meeting with Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, to discuss the Nuclear Force Improvement Program. As a result of the new initiative, Wilson said more than 1,000 personnel will be added to Global Strike Command, which is comprised of five bases, including Minot AFB with both a bomb wing and missile wing.

“We received great support from the Secretary of the Air Force on increasing billets in the nuclear enterprise,” said Weinstein at a news conference with local media Wednesday at Minot AFB’s Jimmy Doolittle Center. Weinstein is visiting the Minot base and Minot missile field this week.

He said the 741 additional people for 20th Air Force (impacting the 91st Missile Wing at Minot AFB, 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom AFB, Mont., and 90th Missile Wing at F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo.) include for intercontinental ballistic missile operations, helicopter pilots (“about double the amount of helicopter pilots”), security forces and missile maintenance.

“We’re putting our resources where we say it’s important. This is the No. 1 enterprise for the United States Air Force. I’ll say it’s the No. 1 enterprise for the United States of America and now we’re getting it properly resourced by getting the people that we need,” Weinstein said.

“This is an affirmation on the importance of Minot and Team Minot,” Weinstein said. “It’s an affirmation on the importance of the 5th Bomb Wing and what the B-52 crews are doing here, it’s an affirmation of the 91st Missile Wing and the great support that we provide for a 24/7/365 ICBM force and it’s for the other communities where 20th Air Force resides in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and Great Falls, Montana because it’s an increase of people.

“It shows an increase of importance that we’re placing on it and probably the most important thing is we’re going to actually we’re going to resource the enterprise the way it needs to be resourced to accomplish the mission,” Weinstein said.

For more of the news conference with Weinstein see Saturday’s edition of The Minot Daily News.