by Airman 1st Class Dillon Johnston
341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
5/8/2015 - MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- A
missile alert facility recently underwent a launch control center "deep
clean" as part of an effort to improve quality of life for missileers
dispatched to the missile field.
MAF "M" is the most recent to receive a LCC cleaning. Using a contracted
service, the LCC is temporarily shut down so a more thorough sanitation
can be performed.
Daily operations continue as planned during the cleaning, with security
forces members monitoring the launch facilities 24/7, while the
operations of the LCC are shifted to a neighboring MAF, which keeps the
missiles on alert, even with a capsule down.
The missileers still post to their station in the capsule, and are able to watch as their workspace gets a much needed cleaning.
"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."
Normal cleaning which is done by the LCC crews can only get to a small
portion of the capsule while remaining operational, and the deep clean
allows the capsule to be pulled apart and thoroughly scrubbed.
"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," Acker added. "We have various cleaning products, but
that can only get you so far."
The cleaning does more than get the missileer's workspace sanitary; a clean workspace can lead to a better attitude.
"It boosts morale," said 2nd Lt. Aurea Pomalas-Martinez, 490th MS deputy
combat crew commander. "Nobody likes to be in a dirty capsule, and it's
been a while since they did a deep cleaning. It improves the living
conditions for the missileers down there, and therefore improves
"In my personal experience, coming down to a clean capsule, I've had
better morale," agreed 1st Lt. Dustin Mountcastle, 490th MS combat crew
commander. "Going down there, it definitely helps to have a nice clean
capsule, so it's one less thing you have to worry about."
With a fresh clean capsule, missileers are able to stay more focused: keeping all 150 missiles in the field on constant alert.