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Malmstrom tests Minuteman III missile with launch from Vandenberg

An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test at 12:02 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time May 3, 2017, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. (U.S. Air Force photo/Michael Peterson)

An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test at 12:02 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time May 3, 2017, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. (U.S. Air Force photo/Michael Peterson)

An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test at 12:02 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time May 3, 2017, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. (U.S. Air Force photo/2nd Lt. William Collette)

An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test at 12:02 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time May 3, 2017, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. (U.S. Air Force photo/2nd Lt. William Collette)

Air Force Global Strike Command -- A team of Air Force Global Strike Command Airmen from the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana, launched an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile equipped with a single test reentry vehicle May 3, 2017, at 12:02 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time from Vandenberg AFB, California.

The ICBM's reentry vehicle, which contained a telemetry package used for operational testing, traveled approximately 4,200 miles to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. These test launches verify the accuracy and reliability of the ICBM weapon system, providing valuable data to ensure a continued safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent.

“The men and women from the 341st Missile Wing Task Force, the Airmen from my squadron, and our host unit here at Vandenberg (AFB) worked tirelessly to pull this launch off — it was awesome to see everyone’s hard work pay off!” said Col. Craig Ramsey, the 576th Flight Test Squadron commander. “It’s efforts like these that make nuclear deterrence effective.”

Malmstrom AFB is one of three missile bases with crew members standing alert 24 hours a day, year-round, overseeing the nation’s ICBM alert forces.

“I am exceedingly proud of the maintainers and operators from the 341st Missile Wing, including those that supported this mission from the onset. This Task Force worked flawlessly alongside the absolute professionals from the 576 FLTS to make this mission a success,” Lt. Col. Tony Rhoades, the GT222 Task Force commander, said. “Promoting the deterrence, assurance and strike capability of the Minuteman III, along with the insight it provides to force readiness, could not be done without the dedication, professionalism and teamwork of the men and women throughout the 341st Missile Wing."

The ICBM community, including the Defense Department, the Department of Energy, and U.S. Strategic Command uses data collected from test launches for continuing force development evaluation. The ICBM test launch program demonstrates the operational capability of the Minuteman III and ensures the United States’ ability to maintain a strong, credible nuclear deterrent as a key element of national security and the security of U.S. allies and partners.

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