MINOT AIR FORCE BASE The runway at Minot Air Force Base will reopen at the end of next month, says the commander of the 5th Bomb Wing. The runway has been closed since April for reconstruction of its center section.
Col. Jason Armagost, who became commander of the Minot bomb wing July 14, told members of the Minot Area Chamber of Commerce's Military Affairs Committee meeting Thursday, that the runway will reopen Sept. 30.
"You'll see B-52s flying around here again pretty soon," Armagost said.
Sundt Construction employees work July 9 on finishing the concrete for the center section of the runway reconstrution project at Minot Air Force Base. The runway is scheduled for reopening late next month.
"A lot more will start happening in the air that you'll see around here," he continued, adding that many people who have been away will be back.
While the runway is closed several B-52s are temporarily operating out of Ellsworth AFB at Rapid City, S.D., and others are on deployment at Andersen AFB in Guam. Some B-52s and crew remained at Minot AFB in a ready status in case they are needed.
This year's runway project, a more than $32 million contract awarded to Sundt Construction Inc., of Tempe, Ariz., completes the last section of a three-year reconstruction project.
More than 300 personnel coming to Minot AFB
MINOT AIR FORCE BASE Minot Air Force Base will grow by 303 positions under the Air Force's Nuclear Force Improvement Program, said Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., on Thursday.
Hoeven said the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot AFB is expected to increase by 69 positions in areas including operations and maintenance.
He said the 91st Missile Wing will grow by 234 positions. Those airmen will primarily serve in jobs such as operations, maintenance, and security forces.
Minot AFB is the only nuclear-capable dual wing base. The 5th Bomb Wing, led by Col. Jason Armagost, has the B-52 bombers. The 91st Missile Wing, led by Col. Michael Lutton, has 150 Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles in underground facilities in several counties surrouding the base.
According to the most recent base economic impact report of the base, as of September 2013, it has a population of 12,996 people, including military members and their family members and civilians who work on the base.
Hoeven met in June with Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson, commander of the Air Force Global Strike Command at Barksdale AFB, La., to discuss the Nuclear Force Improvement Program, which the Air Force launched earlier this year to strengthen the Air Force's nuclear mission.
Wilson told Hoeven that as a result of the new initiative, he expects more than 1,000 personnel will be added to Global Strike Command, which is comprised of five bases, including Minot AFB. The general could not provide a figure at the time, but said many will be stationed at the Minot base.
A number of the new personnel will be senior noncommissioned officer positions, which require skills in security, maintenance and operational logistics. Wilson said he expects the program to make investments in facilities at Global Strike Command's five bases, including Minot AFB.
Hoeven, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, worked on including provisions in the fiscal year 2015 Department of Defense Appropriations bill that will strengthen national security and support missions at North Dakota's bases. That includes $21.6 million for the Nuclear Force Improvement Program to refurbish ICBM launch control centers, improve access roads, and replace and upgrade basic equipment used by ICBM and nuclear security forces personnel.