MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE — Maintaining missiles will soon be more efficient for the airmen at Malmstrom Air Force Base thanks to a new missile maintenance dispatch center. For the first time in about 30 years, Malmstrom will soon have a facility specifically designed to support missile maintenance.
Malmstrom is home to the 341st Missile Wing, which operates and maintains 150 Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles. The missiles are located in silos across north and central Montana.
Master Sergeant Justin Dill, 741st Maintenance Squadron Resources Flight Chief, explained, "We'll have our missile maintenance technicians, our electromechanical technicians, and our vehicles and equipment technician sections. The vehicles and equipment section, they equip the other two teams with everything that they need to be able to maintain everything from rocket boosters up to the actual warhead and then all of those support systems that maintain that system that is on ready-alert 24/7.”
The building has been under construction for about two years at a cost of about $18 million and is expected to be complete in August.
"We actually have a very efficient use of space and are able to store our equipment and maintain that equipment much more efficiently,” said Dill.
With a huge area to cover and a high volume of calls, being efficient is important. "On average, (there are) about 1,200 dispatches a month,” said 1st Lieutenant Nathan Shilvock of the Missile Maintenance Team Section. "These technicians work hard every day. They're dispatching 24/7 sometimes in all kinds of weather and conditions in a 13,000 square-mile missile complex. My team is one of the teams that dispatches to the field almost every day of the week, so to have a purpose-built building specifically for our needs is huge. It's like having a tailored suit. You can wear any kind of clothing you want, but when you have a suit that fits just right, a building that's built to your needs exactly, that's amazing."