Minot Airmen Update ICBM Launch Codes

? Missile maintenance crews at Minot AFB, N.D., carried out the crucial task of updating the computer codes that national command authorities would use to initiate the launch of the base’s Minuteman III ICBMs in a conflict. “We change the codes every year to make sure those launch codes are as secure as they can possibly be,” said 1st Lt. Paul Wolfe, a 740th Missile Squadron missile combat crew commander, in an Aug. 12 base release. “It’s a way to make sure we have control of the missile at all times,” he said. Changing the Minuteman launch codes requires going to the missile launch facilities. “We open the site and we’re the last ones to leave,” a process that can take up to 20 hours, said SSgt. Michael Swain, the 91st Missile Operations Squadron facility maintenance and penetration team member. The process also requires additional security airmen while launch crews remain on alert, resulting in an increase in personnel at the usually lonely launch sites.