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‘A very strategic base’

Many distinguished visitors visit Minot AFB

Gen. David Goldfein, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, speaks with 5th Operations Support Squadron Airmen at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, Jan. 2, 2020. The purpose of his visit was to show appreciation and recognize Airmen who stand watch 24-7. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ashley Boster)

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE – Minot Air Force Base, the Department of Defense’s only dual wing-nuclear capable installation, gets many distinguished visitors each year.

On Wednesday, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, along with Senators John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer will visit the base. Hoeven and Cramer invited Esper to the state during the secretary’s confirmation process last year.

Last year the base received 288 distinguished visitors.

“We had distinguished visitors on the ground for 266 days of our 365 days of the year,” Col. Bradley Cochran, commander of the base’s 5th Bomb Wing, told members of the Minot Area Chamber of Commerce’s Military Affairs Committee at its monthly meeting on Feb. 6.

“It is a huge opportunity for us that we take very seriously to educate senior leaders on what the mission is in both the 91st (Missile Wing) and the 5th (Bomb Wing) – the triad – and how important that is for the strategic stability of the United States and really what we consider the shield, the backbone, of the United States military,” Cochran said, adding, “This is a very strategic base.”

Staff Sergeant Gibbs Bellamour, 5th Medical Operations Squadron aerospace medical technician, receives the First Sergeant Diamond Sharp Award at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, Jan. 29, 2020. Bellamour was coined by Lt. Gen. Dorothy Hogg, Air Force Surgeon General, for his outstanding work and commitment to duty. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ashley Boster)

The Navy’s submarine-launched ballistic missiles are the third leg of the nuclear triad.

Minot AFB is a place where distinguished visitors can see in one stop the operations of both the 91st Missile Wing’s intercontinental ballistic missiles and 5th Bomb Wing’s B-52.

“That’s what makes this base so powerful and so strategic,” Cochran said.

Distinguished visitors also come to Minot AFB to show their appreciation and recognize airmen.

Since Jan. 1 of this year, distinguished visitors to the base have included Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. David Goldfein, U.S. Strategic Command Commander Adm. Charles Richard, Surgeon General of the Air Force Dorothy Hogg and Chief of Chaplains of the Air Force Maj. Gen. Steven Schaick. Esper will be the latest distinguished visitor this year.

“It’s our honor and privilege to do this and to educate our senior leaders on how important it is,” Cochran said of the distinguished visitors’ visits to Minot Air Force Base.

He said many of the visits include dinners and socials with the local community. On behalf of Col. Glenn Harris, missile wing commander, and himself, Cochran thanked community leaders for their support.

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