ICBM mission enters new era with 377 TEG

  • Published
  • By Scott Wakefield
  • 377 Air Base Wing Public Affairs

When we think of modernization in the Air Force, we typically think of upgrading fighter and bomber air frames to the latest and greatest of its time. Yet sometimes modernization can take the form of transforming the way we do business.

Air Force Global Strike Command made the decision in June 2021 to establish the 377th Test and Evaluation Group, or TEG. To accomplish this feat, a reorganization had to occur at the Headquarters 20th Air Force and the 377th Air Base Wing.

On November 8, 2022, the 377 TEG stood-up at Vandenberg Space Force Base, California as a subordinate to the 377 ABW out of Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico. Later that day, the 377th Flight Test Missile Maintenance Squadron, or 377 FTMMXS, was also stood-up under the 377 TEG, and the 576th Flight Test Squadron was realigned under the 377 TEG.

Col. Christopher Cruise relinquished command of the 576th FLTS to Lt. Col. Tony Santino, and then assumed command of the 377 TEG.

The final squadron to fall under the 377 TEG, the 377th Test Support Squadron will be stood-up at Kirtland AFB on December 1, 2022.

This modernization effort to stand-up the 377 TEG and realign the mission of its three squadrons will enable a systems and component approach to successfully accomplish test launches, nuclear command and control software tests, and simulated electronic launch tests for operational ICBM units.

“This new structure will place our squadron commanders in a better position to lead their Airmen through the complex and critical activities that each squadron will be required to perform,” said Col. Jason Vattioni, 377 ABW commander. “It will also allow the TEG commander the capability to ensure the proper integration of test activities at Vandenberg and the ability to coordinate and synchronize competing test requirements.”

The reorganization will make the 377 TEG America’s only dedicated ICBM test and evaluation group that will combine maintenance and operations.
The new organization will be able to test current and future capabilities and adapt to the future requirements for our nation’s ICBM force to compete with potential adversaries in the battlespace.

As the 377 TEG moves forward, the 576 FLTS will continue to test the reliability of the Minuteman III weapons system as the 377 TEG prepares for the integration of the Sentinel weapon system as it comes online.

“Our mission is to demonstrate our nation’s ICBM capabilities, that hasn’t changed,” said Cruise. “As the 377th Test and Evaluation Group we will continue to assure our allies across the globe and be that visible deterrent to any nation that might seek to do us harm.”

According to Santino, as part of the 377 TEG the 576 FLTS is preparing to take on the monumental changes that will be required to bring on the next generation of ICBM for America’s nuclear deterrent arsenal.

“It’s one thing to think about Sentinel, talk about it and hear about what’s coming next…It’s something completely different when you see things as they happen,” said Santino. “Well, here it is, a genuine state-change to the way we do business, and we’re a part of it.”

The 377 FTMMXS will also fall under the 377 TEG as Maj. Charles Frazier takes command. This squadron will have a unique opportunity to build on the outstanding achievements of past maintainers while establishing and modernizing the way maintainers will support the mission in the future.

“Doing this successfully will depend on the men and women of the 377th Flight Test Missile Maintenance Squadron,” said Frazier. “The ICBM enterprise will see a lot of change in the coming future, and the Airmen in this squadron will be on the cutting edge of that change.”

The 377 TEG offers a more streamlined command and control mechanism for the testing and evaluation of our nation’s ICBM arsenal that will better help with the modernization of the weapons system when Sentinel is given operational status.