A Minot “Friend”

According to Col. Joe Westa, commander of the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot AFB, N.D., the last time a Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff visited Minot was 20 years ago, so it was a rare event when current JCS Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen stopped by Feb. 18, addressing airmen and family members during a base-wide “all-call.” In Westa’s view, “When you come in the summer, you’re called a visitor; when you come in the winter, we call you “friend.” Mullen talked on a range of topics, including the need for a strong focus on family to support a strong national defense and the reenergized focus on the nuclear enterprise. Minot is host to two elements of USAF’s nuclear force, the 5th BW B-52s and the 91st Missile Wing’s Minuteman ICBMs. Mullen credited Air Force Secretary Michael Donley and Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz for “their hard work” on reinvigorating the Air Force’s nuclear mission. Mullen said that DOD-wide has made “a lot of progress,” acknowledging that “after the Berlin Wall came down, the subject we neglected was nuclear deterrence.” (Minot report by A1C Benjamin Stratton)