Military News

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Nuclear platforms rally in the name of deterrence

by Airman 1st Class Mozer O. Da Cunha
2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs

10/1/2015 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- Air Force Global Strike Command hosted a two-day tour for
intercontinental ballistic missile maintainers, operators and security forces Airmen here Sept. 28 - 29.

The Higher Headquarters Professional Development Tour was designed to educate ICBM Airmen on both the nuclear and conventional capabilities of AFGSC bomber operations and how the command integrates its capabilities for the nuclear deterrence and assurance mission.

"The ICBM side of the house is often focused solely on the nuclear part of the mission," said Capt. Paul Gephart, AFGSC operations chief of emergency war order plans. "All the missileers see is the nuclear side, and a lot of times they don't recognize the other platforms or their conventional capability."

The tour included a variety of briefings providing ICBM Airmen with knowledge on bomber operations and capabilities. Areas highlighted included B-52 long-range nuclear and conventional heavy bomber missions and B-2 Spirit stealth abilities.

"The briefings ranged from AFGSC operations to maintenance and security forces missions," Gephart said. "They also received a bomber briefing on the B-52 Stratofortress and the B-2 Spirit, explaining what they do, what kind of armor and weapons they carry, and some of their previous missions."

Airmen also had the opportunity to see the B-52 up close and learn about its capabilities from aircrew.

"We learned a lot about the other platforms available to AFGSC and their capabilities," said 1st. Lt. Jared Fairchild, 490th Missile Squadron ICBM operator, Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana "With that information, we can better understand the overall effect the command has when it comes to our nuclear operations."

Participants also had the rare opportunity to learn about the U.S. Navy submarine enterprise and its part in the nuclear triad.

"The Airmen learned about different classes of submarines, their payloads and command structures, and how they are integrated into the nuclear triad," said Gephart. "Understanding the full nuclear triad and how this works is invaluable knowledge for all military personnel."

To conclude the tour Airmen learned about, AFGSC's heritage and history.

"We spent time looking at the heritage of what we do," Fairchild said. "We usually talk about it back at the wing, but seeing it from headquarters, perspective makes it easier to understand. The bombers and ICBMs have developed over time to become the enterprise that it is today."

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