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missile career field
U.S. Air Force retired Col. Charlie Simpson, former 20th AF commander, speaks to Airmen attending missile career field technical training at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., Jan. 21, 2014. The 381st Training Group trains and educates more than 250 missile maintainer graduates annually. (Courtesy photo)
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Association of Air Force Missileers visits Vandenberg Air Force Base

Posted 2/12/2014   Updated 2/12/2014 Email story   Print story

    


by unattributed
381st Training Group


2/12/2014 - VANDENBERG AFB, Calif.  -- Following the Martin Luther King Day holiday weekend, members of the Association of Air Force Missileers made a pilgrimage back to Vandenberg Air Force Base to explore their nuclear roots at the 381st Training Group. The delegation included: the executive director of AAFM, retired Col. Charlie Simpson, former 20th AF Commander, Maj. retired Maj. Gen. Robert Parker, the first female intercontinental ballistic missile operations crewmember and squadron commander, retired Col. Patricia Fornes, retired Chief Master Sgt. Michael Kenderes, retired Chief Master Sgt Bob Kelchner and the Honorary 532nd Training Squadron Commander and ICBM Poet Laureate, Mr. Robert Wycoff.

The AAFM delegation started their historic trip by visiting with group and squadron leadership. New organizational missions, integration of ICBM maintenance and operations training and several exceptional training innovations were highlighted. AAFM members also toured Air Launch Cruise Missile facilities, Missile Procedures Trainers, other maintenance training facilities, and the 576th Flight Test Squadron to examine the evolution of ICBM training and operations over the last several decades.

The delegation spent considerable time interacting with both students and instructors at two professional development forums. During the inter-generational exchanges, past and present nuclear professionals shared experiences from their time in uniform and discussed differences in the ICBM operational and technical training environments. Parker commented on one theme that has stood the test of time, "never let your standards slip, because once you do, it is always hard to get them back." The delegation was incredibly impressed with the quality of training and equipment utilized, "The Nuclear Enterprise is in great hands," stated Simpson.

The day's events culminated with an open meeting of the local AAFM chapter. Simpson gave a presentation on the history and goals of AAFM, "AAFM exists to ensure the proud heritage of all missileers, both maintainers and operators, is celebrated and preserved." By the end of the meeting, AAFM was successful in recruiting a number of new members for their missileer professional society.

At the conclusion of the visit, Simpson stated the objectives of their visit were met with flying colors. "AAFM has always celebrated those who serve in missiles, from the very start more than 50 years ago, through today, representing some of the best the Air Force has to offer. The young men and women we met during our two days at Vandenberg, both in the training arena and those in the 576th Flight Test Squadron stand at the top of that list. There is absolutely no doubt that we are doing a superb job in preparing new missileers for their critically important jobs."



tabComments
3/21/2014 1:09:35 PM ET
I too just returned from Vandenberg a trip to my old stomping grounds. I did with some difficulty find the heritage muesuum and did see some of the old equipment etc. When I was stationed there in 1966-1971 I was with the Titan IIIB SLC4-W Quality Assurance. We were indeed a hands-on military launch team. We had about 20 launches. We were truly missileers.
paul w. loll, mtn. home idaho
 
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