SecDef makes surprise calls to Malmstrom AFB officers

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By Josh Aycock, 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs / Published February 01, 2014


Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel visited Airmen from the 90th Missile Wing to learn about the ICBM mission Jan. 9, 2014, at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. While flying back to Washington D.C. from the Munich Security Conference in Germany, the secretary made a series of surprise phone calls to six Malmstrom Air Force Base officers pulling alert duty Feb. 1, 2014. In a series of candid conversations that lasted approximately one hour, Secretary Hagel relayed his confidence in their ability to carry out the nuclear mission. He also took time to listen to their concerns and relayed that he deeply appreciates their critical service to the nation. (U.S. Air Force photo/R.J. Oriez)

MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. (AFNS) --

Flying back to Washington D.C. from the Munich Security Conference aboard an E-4B aircraft, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel made a series of surprise phone calls to six officers currently pulling alert duty in three of the 341st Missile Wing's launch control centers here.

In a series of candid conversations that lasted approximately one hour, Hagel expressed his confidence in their ability to carry out the nuclear mission to members of the 10th, 12th and 490th Missile Squadrons. He also took time to listen to their concerns and said he deeply appreciates their critical service to the nation.

"Secretary Hagel asked how I felt about everything that's going on and I told him the workload has increased and it's hard to see friends involved," said 1st Lt. Jordan Seibert, a 12th MS missile combat crew commander. "It was really humbling, and it showed that our mission is on his mind."

The officers relayed to the secretary that they hoped the nuclear review he ordered will result in improvements for the ICBM career field.

"I was able to express to him personally that I feel optimistic about potential changes in how we're tested," said Capt. Adam Ross, a 490th MS missile combat crew commander. "More importantly, I'm optimistic about how we can find new ways to interpret the results of our testing."

Hagel thanked the missileers for dealing with a higher operational tempo and more time on alert given the ongoing investigation. He encouraged them to continue carrying out their mission in support of strategic deterrence.

"The SecDef showed concern for the crew force's personal life impacts, with the understanding that we are being called upon to complete a higher ops tempo to complete our mission," said 1st Lt. Tracie Davis, a 10th MS missile combat crew commander. "It really showed interest in us for him to take his personal time to connect with the force. He absolutely achieved his goal to connect and show concern for this mission and its people."

For one member, it was definitely an alert duty shift to remember.

"The call was surprising and really cool," said 2nd Lt. James Hunter III, a 10th MS deputy missile combat crew commander, who was in the midst of completing his first alert shift. "It's something I will never forget -- eye opening."

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