An Air Force Global Strike Command contracted cleaning crew recently completed a deep clean of one of the missile alert facilities at Malmstrom AFB, Mont. Although the LCC was temporarily shut down while the work was being done, missileers still reported to duty and operations were shifted to a neighboring MAF, allowing the missiles to remain on alert, according to a Malmstrom release. “We spend 24 hours in that environment,” said 2nd Lt. Christine Acker, 490th Missile Squadron deputy combat crew commander. “Our only air is coming from upstairs, so having a capsule that’s cleaner than it has been after years of 24-hour-a-day constant use will be great.” The need for a deep clean was one of the many concerns missileers raised to AFGSC’s force improvement teams, noting it had been decades since the capsules were truly sanitized. “There’s only so much we can do ourselves down there in terms of what we are allowed to [move] and clean up,” said 2nd Lt. Joshua Dishmon, 490th MS deputy combat crew commander. “When they shut a capsule down, they are able to bring down equipment that we can’t use.” (See also Nuclear Force Improvements from the April 2015 issue of Air Force Magazine.)
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.