Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
US Test-Launches ICBM Off California To Show Ability To ‘Defend Against Attacks’
An unarmed intercontinental ballistic missile was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base early Wednesday to test the weapon’s reliability to “defend against attacks on the United States and its allies,” the Air Force said.
The Minuteman III missile was fired at 2:10 a.m. local time from the base northwest of Santa Barbara, Calif., according to the Air Force Global Strike Command. The missile, equipped with a single test re-entry vehicle, traveled 4,200 miles to a test range near the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.
The strike command said the test was “not a response to recent North Korean actions.” Rather the launch “demonstrates that the United States’ nuclear enterprise is safe, secure, effective” and can protect against strikes, the command said.
The test comes after North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile on Friday — the second in less than a month. The two-stage missile crashed off the coast of Japan’s northernmost island, Hokkaido. Independent defense analysts say such a missile may be capable of reaching California and other parts of the West Coast.
On Tuesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. government would agree to a dialogue with North Korea if it relinquishes its nuclear program.
“We are trying to convey to the North Koreans: ‘We are not your enemy, we are not your threat. But you are presenting an unacceptable threat to us, and we have to respond,’” he said.
Wednesday’s launch was conducted by Vandenberg’s 30th Space Wing team, the 90th Missile Wing at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming and the 576th Flight Test Squadron, the Air Force said. The 90th Missile Wing is one of three bases overseeing the country’s intercontinental ballistic missile forces.
The test is the fourth ICBM launched from the base this year.
“These test launches require the highest degree of technical competence and commitment at every level and provide critical data necessary to validate the reliability, accuracy and performance of the ICBM force,” Col. Dave Kelley, 576th Flight Test Squadron commander, said in a statement.
In February, a test missile was launched from the base. That missile was also equipped with a nonexplosive payload and traveled to the Marshall Islands.
Another test was conducted by the Air Force Global Strike Command’s team on April 26. Air Force officials said that launch was an operational test to show the country’s nuclear deterrent capability.
Days later, a third test missile launched from the base. The unarmed Minuteman III missile was launched just after midnight on May 3 from the base to test the weapon’s reliability and ensure an “effective nuclear deterrent,” according to the Air Force.
On May 30, the Missile Defense Agency conducted a flight test exercise of a ground-based interceptor that was also launched from the air base. The interceptor successfully targeted and destroyed an unarmed intercontinental ballistic missile launched from the Marshall Islands.
©2017 Los Angeles Times. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
29 years after Desert Storm, an Air Force general says we’ve forgotten the lessons that made it so successful
When Air Force Gen. Chuck Horner (ret.) took to the podium at the dedication of the National Desert Storm and Desert Shield Memorial site in Washington D.C. last February, he told the audience that people often ask him why a memorial is necessary for a conflict that only lasted about 40 days.
Horner, who commanded the U.S. air campaign of that war, said the first reason is to commemorate those who died in the Gulf War. Then he pointed behind him, towards the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, where the names of over 58,000 Americans who died in Vietnam are etched in granite.
"These two monuments are inexorably linked together," Horner said. "Because we had in Desert Storm a president and a secretary of defense who did the smartest thing in the world: they gave the military a mission which could be accomplished by military force."
The Desert Storm Memorial "is a place every military person that's going to war should visit, and they learn to stand up when they have to, to avoid the stupidness that led to that disaster" in Vietnam, he added.
Now, 29 years after the operation that kicked Saddam Hussein's Iraqi army out of Kuwait began, the U.S. is stuck in multiple wars that Horner says resemble the one he and his fellow commanders tried to avoid while designing Desert Storm.
Horner shared his perspective on what went right in the Gulf War, and what's gone wrong since then, in an interview last week with Task & Purpose.
The Navy SEAL accused of strangling Army Special Forces Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar was promoted to chief petty officer two months after Melgar's death, according to a new report from The Daily Beast.
When it comes to saving the world, sometimes one uniform just isn't enough. At least, that's what seems to motivate Tech. Sgt. Sean Neri, who, in between coordinating vehicles for security forces at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont., dresses up as a Star Wars bounty hunter and volunteers at community fundraisers.
"One of my coworkers introduced me to costuming and showed me there are organizations out there who use it for charity work," said Neri in a Jan. 21 article by Devin Doskey, public affairs specialist for the 341st Missile Wing.
"As a cop, I love being able to help people, but upon discovering I could do it while being a character for Star Wars, I was hooked," said Neri, who is the NCO in charge of vehicle readiness for the 341st Security Forces Support Squadron.
March Air Reserve Base in California will host nearly 200 U.S. citizens who were flown out of Wuhan, China due to the rapidly-spreading coronavirus, a Defense Department spokeswoman announced on Wednesday.
"March Air Reserve Base and the Department of Defense (DoD) stand ready to provide housing support to Health and Human Services (HHS) as they work to handle the arrival of nearly 200 people, including Department of State employees, dependents and U.S. citizens evacuated from Wuhan, China," said Pentagon press secretary Alyssa Farah in a statement on Wednesday.
Wuhan is the epicenter of the coronavirus, which is a mild to severe respiratory illness that's associated with symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The virus has so far killed 132 people and infected nearly 6,000 others in China, according to news reports.
More problems with Air Force's new tanker could put the squeeze on the Pentagon's refueling capabilities, TRANSCOM chief says
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider.
Protracted delays on Boeing's new KC-46 tanker could leave the Pentagon with a shortage of refueling capacity, the head of U.S. Transportation Command warned on Tuesday.