Burgum welcomes Vice President Pence to Minot Air Force Base, stressing importance of dual nuclear mission

Friday, October 27, 2017 - 5:00pm

Gov. Doug Burgum welcomed Vice President Mike Pence and Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson to Minot Air Force Base today, emphasizing the importance of the base’s dual nuclear mission to the nation’s defense strategy.

Burgum greeted Vice President Pence and Wilson as they deplaned from Air Force Two, then joined them for a briefing of Minot Air Force Base operations and tours of a launch facility containing the LGM-30 Minuteman III – the only land-based Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) in the United States – and a B-52 bomber.

“As Americans, we believe in peace through strength. With global tensions heightened, Minot Air Force Base plays an essential role in national defense with two legs of the nuclear triad – the 91st Missile Wing’s intercontinental ballistic missiles and the 5th Bomb Wing’s B-52 bombers – that provide a key deterrent to global threats,” Burgum said. “Today’s visit by Vice President Pence and Secretary Wilson shines a well-deserved spotlight on the excellent work of our men and women in uniform and underscores why we must continue to invest in a modernized military to keep our nation safe and secure. We agree wholeheartedly when he says ‘only the best come north.’ ”

The Vice President, governor, U.S. Sen. John Hoeven, Congressman Kevin Cramer and other officials received briefings from 91st Missile Wing commander Col. Colin Connor and 5th Bomb Wing commander Col. Matthew Brooks.

Earlier in the day, Burgum met with the North Dakota Air National Guard’s 219th Security Forces Squadron commander, Lt. Col. Tad Schauer, who highlighted the key role they play in protecting the Air Force’s nuclear missiles in North Dakota. Since 2007, the unit has been providing security to the missile fields of Minot’s 91st Missile Wing while working jointly with its active duty counterparts.

"The 219th plays a crucial role in providing steadfast security to ensure our strategic nuclear defenses are protected, and we are grateful for their service," Burgum said. "This unique and vital mission is a credit to their performance and professionalism and just another example of the trailblazing contributions the North Dakota Air National Guard makes to our nation's defense."

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