Hagel Calls Missileers

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel made a series of phone calls to six officers pulling alert duty in the 341st Missile Wing’s launch control centers at Malmstrom AFB, Mont. Hagel called these airmen on Feb. 1 as he was traveling back to Washington, D.C., aboard an E-4 aircraft after attending the Munich Security Conference. “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, missile combat crew commander for the 12th Missile Squadron. “It was really humbling, and it showed that our mission is on his mind,” said Seibert. Hagel spoke for approximately an hour with the officers during these “candid conversations,” according to the wing’s Feb. 1 release. He thanked them for dealing with the higher operational tempo and having to spend more time on alert. Hagel ordered an independent review of the nuclear enterprise following allegations that Malmstrom-based missileers cheated on a nuclear proficiency exam, removing a large part of the base’s missile officers from the normal alert rotations. (Malmstrom report by Josh Aycock) (See also A Systemic Problem.)