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News | Sept. 15, 2009

Air Force commemorates 50 years of ICBM strategic deterrence

AFSPC Public Affairs

F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. - The Air Force will commemorate 50 years since the first Atlas D intercontinental ballistic missile went on alert with a symposium, commemoration dinner and dedication here, Oct. 7 to 9. The Secretary of Defense, the Honorable Robert Gates and the Secretary of the Air Force, the Honorable Michael Donley, along with other senior leaders, ICBM pioneers and Airmen, are planning to commemorate 50 years of continued commitment to the highest standards of performance and reliability in maintaining, securing and operating the series of ICBM weapon systems from the Atlas D in 1959 to our current system, the Minuteman III.

"We owe 50 years of success to the visionary leaders and technical experts - the pioneers who designed and employed the ICBM weapon system and fail-safe command and control structure," said Maj. Gen. Roger Burg, 20th Air Force commander, responsible for the nation's ICBM force. "Their understanding of the vital importance of the strategic deterrence mission and their solemn respect for the awesome power of nuclear weapons influenced the necessary standard of perfection we strive to achieve every day. " Deployed across almost 45,000 square miles of the Great Plains of the United States, dedicated Airmen operate, maintain and secure America's only land-based strategic deterrent 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.