One man's journey to be the first

  • Published
  • By 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs

While on temporary duty to Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana, for exercise Olympic Flag in September 2018, Colonel Todd Sauls, 20th Air Force Director of Operations and Communications, pulled alert with 1st Lt, Jasmine Kim, 10th Missile Squadron missileer. Their mission: Ensure the world’s premier nuclear force is ready to go at a moment’s notice.

The Air Force has been operating the Minuteman ICBM Force without waver since the 1960s, but there was one difference between this alert and the others. On Sept. 22, 2018, as Sauls pulled alert at A01, the very first Minuteman Launch Control Center, he also became the first person to pull alert at all 45 current 20th Air Force LCCs, not to mention an additional seven LCCs from his time at the 351st Missile Wing, Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri.

 “the world’s premier nuclear force...”

“I am very blessed to have had these opportunities, I’ve just about seen it all,” said Sauls. “There are subtle differences in the weapon system, location-to-location. I’d like to think that my multi-squadron weapon system context and currency help the fielded forces. I was very proud to pull this historic alert with Lt Jasmine Kim. She embodies our missileer force—she was an absolute professional.”

“He taught me to take time to understand the things around me. From something really small about the weapon system to the people that you work with. It’s important to take time, ask questions and be curious,” said Kim.

With 26 years on active duty, Sauls accumulated experiences through a variety of ICBM assignments to include Operation Support Squadron Commander at Malmstrom AFB, Operations Group Commander at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming, and Chief of ICBM Operations at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. Currently, he serves as Director of Operations and Communications at Headquarters 20th Air Force. Throughout his time in the Air Force, Sauls has been stationed at eight bases, all with a nuclear mission.

The 20th Air Force maintains a cohesive team of highly skilled and innovative warfighters demonstrating and delivering combat capability across the spectrum of conflict. They can employ a lethal, safe and sure nuclear deterrent force and when directed, eliminate aggressors through decisive strikes.