My visit to Minot Air Force Base

Today I will continue my statewide military tour in Minot, where I’ll tour the 5th Bomb Wing and 91st Missile Wing at Minot Air Force Base. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, this is all part of an effort to learn how I can support North Dakota’s service men and women in my new role.

My first stop is the 5th Bomb Wing, the Minot Air Force Base’s host wing known affectionately as “The Warbirds.” This fleet is capable of sending precision-guided bombs anywhere in the world using their B-52 bombers. With their motto being “Guardians of the Upper Realm,” I look forward to hearing from these outstanding men and women about what we can better do to serve them.

After that, I will tour the 91st Missile Wing mission. Nicknamed “Rough Riders,” the 91st Missile wing is an intercontinental missile unit, one of only three such units operated by the Air Force. The 91st maintains and operates over one hundred underground Minutemen III missiles housed in facilities right here in North Dakota.

The 91st Missile Wing’s ultimate responsibility- strategic deterrence- directly falls in line with the oversight responsibilities of my Senate Armed Services subcommittees. The Strategic Forces subcommittee has jurisdiction over our Nuclear forces, space programs, and missile defenses. I also sit on the subcommittee on Airland, which has oversight over all Air Force operations. This gives our men and women responsible for our nuclear forces and B-52 bombers a voice on the issues that directly impact them.

The opportunity for me to hear from service men and women, like those serving in Minot, how we can enhance North Dakota’s military community is why this tour is so important. I have made accessibility a staple of my tenure in serving North Dakota. This tour presents an opportunity to hear about problems and solutions directly from constituents and those directly affected by the decisions Washington makes. This is especially important for our military community.

North Dakota’s military has long been a foundational aspect of our state. Both founded in 1957, the legacy of North Dakota’s Air Force bases is a proud one. The North Dakota Army and Air Guard are also critical components to the defense of our state and nation. Our state is known for leading the way in innovation and national security solutions. As Senator, my goal is to support, bolster and grow North Dakota’s military community.

Beyond North Dakota, enhancing the United States’ military force-the most powerful military force on earth-has long been a key priority of mine. Our armed forces are a global power for good, and they consist of the finest men and women our country has to offer. Every day, they selflessly offer to put their lives on the line to maintain our freedoms. We owe them our thanks, but even more importantly we owe them the support, equipment and training they need to accomplish the missions before them. This week’s tour is one of my many efforts to learn how to do that best.