Mighty Ninety exercises RTF muscle

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Darius Frazier
  • 90th Missile Wing

Airmen across F.E. Warren Air Force Base conducted a Response Task Force exercise Aug. 31, 2021, at several locations, including Pine Bluffs. The simulated incident was a payload transporter flipping over while carrying nuclear assets. 

“RTF is in preparation to make sure that if something happens during weapons transport, we can ensure we maintain the mission,” said Tech. Sgt. Aaron Stubbs, the NCOIC of Emergency Management with the 90th Civil Engineer Squadron. “We’ll be able to minimize any damage done.”

An RTF scenario includes a multitude of incidents, and is not limited to a PT rollover.

“The Response Task Force Exercise, RTF, simulates a really bad day happening at the 90th Missile Wing and how we would handle the situation over a long term standpoint,” said Maj. Timothy Dominice, Wing Staff with the Wing Operations Center. “There’s going to be an initial 90th Missile Wing Response, and then there’s going to be a sustained message saying ‘hey we need more help’ in whatever situation we would be dealing with.”

Exercises like this allow Airmen to flex their readiness.

“It goes back to the priority of readiness,” said Stubbs. “Sometimes we think of readiness as deployment related; however, for our mission here, readiness means staying ready if that kind of incident happens.”

The RTF exercise involves many different agencies outside of the Air Force such as the Department of Energy and the Department of Justice.

“A lot of integrated planning is a huge benefit we get out of this as a Wing,” said Dominice. “Being able to mix sections up means you’re not just working in your stovepiped operations group.”

Exercises like RTF help ensure the readiness of Mighty Ninety Airmen as well as allowing those involved an opportunity to see how their piece works in the bigger picture.

While nuclear incidents are uncommon and unlikely, being prepared for the worst is crucially important in ensuring the proper custody and control of the country’s nuclear assets, according to Col. Catherine Barrington, 90th Missile Wing commander.

“This is a capability we cannot allow to erode,” said Barrington. “An exercise is the only time I want to accomplish these RTF actions, but we will always be ready for it.”