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Air Force modernizes nuclear security with advanced JLTV vehicle

  • Published
  • By Joseph Coslett Jr.
  • 90th Missile Wing

U.S. Air Force defenders from the 90th Missile Security Forces Squadron conduct the first operational mission with the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle supporting launch facility maintenance near Harrisburg, Nebraska, April 24, 2023.

Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Daniels and Senior Airman Zion Hill, 90 MSFS maintenance support team members, made history by conducting the first real-world JLTV operation for Air Force Global Strike Command.

“It is built like a tank,” Hill said. “When you climb into the Humvee, you are stepping back in time 20 years. The JLTV is like driving the Batmobile into the future to better defend our nation."

The JLTV is a new armored truck that is set to replace the aging Up-Armored High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, commonly known as the Humvee. This is part of AFGSC’s efforts to modernize and enhance defenders’ capabilities and better protect one of the nation’s most critical assets, its nuclear arsenal.

“The JLTV is an extremely robust and versatile vehicle, offering improved point of view, responsive suspension systems, increased power and modern safety features,” said Lt. Col. William Brokaw, 90 MSFS commander. “Many of the defenders who will operate the vehicle, were born after the UAHMMWV entered service and are anxious to take advantage of all the new capabilities.”

The JLTV is a step forward in terms of safety and protection. However, Brokaw emphasized that the JLTV is a complex vehicle and requires investment in training to ensure operators' safety and skills. Every operator must complete 40 hours of training, both classroom and hands-on familiarization and driving.

A large number of Airmen are already trained, and once the truck is released for general use, they will operate it across the complex within a matter of weeks.

1st Lt. Joseph Struzik, 90th Missile Security Operations Squadron officer in charge of logistics and sustainment, shared his first impressions between the Humvee and the JLTV.

“It is a night and day difference. When you climb inside a Humvee you are walking into a historical box,” he said. “You will see old analog gauges, a classic steering wheel, a center console with a radio. Whereas, the JLTV gives defenders a better tool to perform their nuclear security duties.”

Humvee drivers have to adjust to it while the JLTV adjusts to the driver, according to Struzik.

Daniels shares his impressions after driving the new ride on the first mission.

“I like being first,” he said. “It's kind of entertaining, especially driving around on base and off base. You see people taking pictures.”

As the JLTV is rolled out across the U.S. military, it will help Airmen fit into any joint operations of the future, Brokaw said. The 90 MSFS is eager to put this new truck into service. This evolution has been long in the making.

“The 90th Missile Security Force Squadron is proud to be one of the first to start using the JLTV,” he added. “Finally, a friendly honk, wave or smile might just make a defender’s day as you encounter them, and you might even get a "thumbs up" back for your support at the end of a long day!”