Guard Airmen Take to Missile Field

The North Dakota Air National Guard’s 219th Security Forces Squadron on Dec. 18 dispatched its first airmen to help secure the missile fields assigned to the 91st Missile Wing at Minot AFB, N.D. The two Air Guardsmen—SSgt. John Chalupa and A1C Eric Foss—”are leading the way within the 219th SFS, the same way that the 219th itself is leading the way in the nation,” said Col. Robert Becklund, commander of the NDANG’s 119th Wing, which now includes the 219th SFS, formally activated in October at Minot. The ICBM security mission is one that the state requested after BRAC 2005 stripped the then 119th Fighter Wing of its F-16 fighters. The Fargo-based wing now has also undertaken unmanned aerial vehicle missions, currently operating Predators and to pick up Global Hawks, and has been selected to fly the Air Force’s new C-27 joint cargo aircraft. Providing security for the ICBM force is a first for the Air Guard, which began the training and certification process in early 2007, as attested to by Foss, who said: “I’ve been training for this mission since February of last year. It feels really good. It took a lot of hard work and training to get us to this point. Now, we’re finally able to see it pay off.” Lt. Col. Tad Schauer, 219th SFS commander, said it took the combined efforts of Team Minot to “overcome many hurdles.” He added, “No one has ever done anything like this before, and we are working together to ensure it gets done right the first time.” (Minot report by SrA. Wesley Wright)