Vandy Test Launches ICBM, Way Out

Airmen at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., launched a Minuteman III ICBM May 22, sending it about a thousand miles farther than normal for such reliability and accuracy testing, according to a May 22 release from the 30th Space Wing. The re-entry vehicle impacted the target area some 5,250 miles away from Vandenberg and about 230 nautical miles southwest of Guam. Capt. Jason Yeates, mission launch director, explained that Air Force Space Command must test the “extended range” of the missile “about every three years.” Additionally, noted Yeates, who was the first maintenance officer to act as a Minuteman III launch director, the Air Force “joined with the Navy and one of their oceanographic vessels” to gather the test data at the new location. Lt. Col. Lesa Toler, commander of the 576th Flight Test Squadron at Vandenberg, said that “inter-service coordination was phenomenal, resulting in a seamless operations and collection of the necessary data for a successful test.” (Vandenberg report by 2nd Lt. Raymond Geoffroy)