Malmstrom missile maintainers successfully install reentry system
By Tech. Sgt. Steve Grever, Air Force Public Affairs Agency
/ Published February 10, 2014
MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. --
Missile maintainers from the 341st Missile Maintenance Squadron successfully removed and installed a new reentry system at an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile launch facility here.
Staff Sgt. Damarr Jones, 341st MMXS missile maintenance team chief, led a five-person missile maintenance team that completed the installation of the new reentry system. He said his team prepared days in advance to ensure their equipment, vehicles and other mission requirements were on hand and ready to help complete their maintenance tasks at the LF.
"Our job today was to put a missile on alert," Jones said. "Before the mission, we studied our technical orders and put together the right equipment and parts to complete the job at the site."
Jones has only been stationed at Malmstrom AFB for about 18 months, but he has extensive experience on missile maintenance and missile handling teams over the course of his 12 years in the Air Force. He said he's proud of his team and the work they perform every day to keep Malmstrom missiles on alert.
"We worked as a cohesive unit, and we are well trained to complete maintenance tasks on the ICBM," he said. "I have the best job in the world, and being a team chief is like a quarterback who ensures everyone is working together to accomplish the mission."
First Lt. Michael Fraioli, 341st MMXS missile maintenance team officer in charge, said he relies on his noncommissioned officers who are highly experienced in every aspect of the missile maintenance career field.
"Our team chiefs and site superintendents have a wealth of knowledge. If there's a technical question, they know which technical orders to look at and sometimes they know off the top of their heads what the problem could be and how to fix it," Fraioli said.
The missile maintenance team didn't complete this task on their own as the 40th Helicopter Flight provided aerial surveillance and a Convoy Response Force from the 741st Missile Security Forces Squadron provided them with an armed escort from Malmstrom AFB to the LF. The CRF security forces members ensure the reentry system, Airmen and other resources attached to the convoy are safe and secure at all times.
First Lt. Michael Olson, 741st MSFS CRF convoy commander, said convoy training prepares them for almost every scenario they may see during an operational convoy mission. This training covers each movement the convoy makes to reach the LF safely so the missile maintainers can perform their mission at the site.
"I will control the convoy's movements, and if anything happens that's outside the norm, I will relay it to the base and communicate what's going on. While I'm doing that, our convoy flight chief, who's our tactical commander, will control where we position our forces," Olson said. "I will keep an eye on the big picture and help backfill forces relay everything to the base. I oversee the convoy and our tactical commander is more hands on."
Master Sgt. Christopher Clark, 741st MSFS CRF tactical commander, said he works hand-in-hand with Olson to manage the CRF, and relies on his convoy experience he gained from multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan to ensure their team operates at the highest level.
"When we go on a mission, everybody has a 'Get 'er done' mentality," Clark said. "Out of eight deployments, I ran convoys for six of them. This is like second nature to me. It's a rewarding job and it's a pleasure doing it."