updated: Dec 17, 2013, 9:09 AM
Source: Launch Alert
This morning's planned launch of a Minuteman III strategic missile from Vandenberg AFB took place at
At 06:19 PST, I was near the intersection of U.S. 101 and Las Posas in Camarillo and saw what appeared
to be the aftermath from the launch. Dawn was breaking in the east. There was a very thin cloud layer
covering most of the sky and medium-altitude broken clouds covering about 3/10 of the sky. In the
east I saw a tenuous, glowing, twisted, snake-like trail with sharp turns suspended against the dark blue
The following is a Vandenberg AFB news release.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dec. 17, 2013
MINUTEMAN III LAUNCHES FROM VANDENBERG
VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile was
launched during an operational test at 4:36 a.m. here Tuesday from Launch Facility-04 on north
Col. Brent McArthur, 30th Space Wing vice commander, was the launch decision
"This was our twelfth and final launch for 2013," said McArthur. "I am proud of this team of
professionals who worked so hard to make this mission a success. Now the team can take some time to
enjoy the holidays with family and friends; after the holidays we'll start preparing for a busy 2014
The following is an Air Force Global Strike Command news release.
MINUTEMAN III TEST MISSILE LAUNCHES FROM VANDENBERG
BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. - A team of Air Force Global Strike Command Airmen successfully
launched an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile today at 4:36 a.m. PST from
Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
Every test launch verifies the accuracy and reliability of the ICBM weapon system, providing valuable
data to ensure a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent, said Maj. Gen. Jack Weinstein, 20th Air
"Our Airmen maintain and operate this weapon system year round in some challenging environments,
and today's test is a result of their tireless devotion to this mission," said Weinstein.
The launch team, under the direction of the 576th Flight Test Squadron, Vandenberg AFB, included
Airmen from the 341st Missile Wing, Malmstrom AFB, Mont., and the 625th Strategic Operations
Squadron, Offutt AFB, Neb.
"The test launch is one demonstration of the professionalism and pride all members of Team
Malmstrom take in executing our mission," said Lt. Col. Thomas Vance, 341st Missile Wing task force
"Task Force members performed their maintenance and operations tasks with the highest level of
dedication and precision, as they and all other 341st Missile Wing Airmen do daily in the missile field
and on base to maximize the effectiveness of our ICBM forces," Vance said.
Malmstrom AFB is one of three missile bases with crew members standing alert 24-7 year round,
overseeing the nation's 450 ICBMs.
"As a missileer, the test launch was an amazing experience," said 2nd Lt. Jasmine Paul, deputy combat
crew commander. Paul pulls an average of eight alerts per month, monitoring 50 missiles at
"I pulled alert for this test launch and monitored it every step of the way, relaying information to the test
conductor," Paul said. "Being able to see the missile take off gives me a sense of pride and shows me
that the work I put into this career every day is well worth it."
The entire ICBM community, including the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, and U.S.
Strategic Command will use the data collected from this mission for continuing force development
The ICBM test launch program demonstrates the operational credibility of the Minuteman III and ensures
the United States' ability to maintain a strong, credible nuclear deterrent as a key element of U.S.
national security and the security of U.S. allies and partners.
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