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Northern tier character, toughness

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sergeant Marty Anderson
  • 90th Missile Wing command chief
Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to observe the 90th Missile Maintenance Squadron personnel performing a procedure called "destructive break in" at one of our remote launch facilities. This procedure was required because of an inoperative secondary door, also known as the B-Plug. The B-Plug seals the personnel access shaft, denying unauthorized access into the launch facility. The procedures to get inside a launch facility are extremely complicated, to say the least, when everything is normal. When you add a broken B-Plug, the degree of difficulty is increased considerably. If this task wasn't challenging enough, the teams also had to deal with 25 degree below zero wind chills and blowing snow.

What I was most impressed with was the fact that not a single person complained about the task at hand or the cold. We all stood out in the cold for hours upon hours. In fact, it appeared they actually relished in the challenge of it. Not a single person was looking for an excuse to sit in the truck; they were actually pushing each other out of the way so they could be involved in the task.

Then came the most dangerous part of the task; lowering three technicians inside the launch tube by harness, also known as 'Peter Panning.' Imagine hanging over a 100 foot deep hole in extremely cold weather, then climbing through a small window to gain access to the failed B-Plug. So many technicians wanted to play 'Peter Pan,' I think they had to draw names from a hat!

We consistently talk about character and toughness. And observing this in action, there is no doubt in my mind we have it here at Air Force Global Strike Command's F. E. Warren Air Force Base. This attitude permeates within the entire wing from our security forces, support, operational and medical personnel. No one gets to say, "It's too cold outside, I don't want to go!" or "This is too difficult, I can't do it!" Our Airmen are professionals and dedicated to mission accomplishment and won't stop until the assigned task is completed.

I have been all over the world in a variety of locations. I find the places that have the most austere conditions, in my opinion, have the highest camaraderie and morale.

Our Airmen realize they are part of a team and take care of each other by not complaining. They embrace the conditions they are in to overcome any obstacle they are faced with.

Witnessing this maintenance task was impressive within itself, but to complicate this situation with the elements and seeing how our maintenance teams were determined not to quit until this task was complete validated my opinion!

Let it be known for those moving to Warren, don't be the first person to complain, they will find themselves being the only person who does!