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The Air Force this week successfully launched two unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles over the Pacific Ocean.
At 3:53 a.m. Pacific time Friday today, Air Force missileers from Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana, launched a randomly selected, unarmed missile at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. The rocket flew for about 40 minutes and landed in the ocean near Guam about 40 minutes after launch, according to Global Strike Command.
The test was scheduled to verify the reliability of the Minuteman III rockets and provide data on how the missiles launch. The team included the 576th Flight Test Squadron at Vandenberg and the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom.
"An operational test launch requires hard work, months of preparation, and outstanding teamwork between personnel on both bases," said Lt. Col. Daniel Hays, the 341st Missile Wing Task Force commander, said in a Global Strike news release on the launch. "These launches are a visible reminder to both our adversaries and our allies of the readiness and capability of the Minuteman III weapon system, and without the dedication of the men and women from both the 576th and the 341st, this test could not have happened."
On March 23, a team of airmen from Vandenberg and the 90th Missile Squadron at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming, successfully launched another unarmed Minuteman III from the California base.
"The two launches from the past week were a full team effort between the 576th, and the 90th and 341st Missile Wings," Col. Kelvin Townsend, 576th Flight Test Squadron commander, said in the release. "Launching multiple missiles in close proximity to each other adds an extra amount of realism to the operational test mission we fulfill here." These test launches occur due to the training and strict attention to detail our people have; resulting in a reliable test."