Minot Air Force Base’s 91st Missile Wing runs Simulated Electronic Launch Missile


If the president orders that nuclear weapons are needed, it’s vital that all is ready when duty calls. That’s why the Air Force runs simulations to make sure everything is working properly.

“I like to tell people that, ‘Everyday a nuclear weapon is used as a deterrent to prevent our enemies from inflicting harm on us,'” said Capt. Martin Escarzaga, maintenance OIC.

The 91st Missile Wing is just one of the many organizations that were a part of the simulated electronic launch missile.

The simulation consists of every step that leads up to an actual launch of a Minuteman III missile.

“One of those systems that we have is the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile system. We have that here in Minot and we maintain all sites to ensure that that capability exists just in case the Chairman Joint Chief of Staff or the President of the United States gives the order to ensure we have that strategic deterrent,” said Escarzaga.

As you may expect, there’s a lot of planning and preparing that goes into something like this.

“Months and months of planning for a 10-second celebration and then it’s, ‘Hey! Let’s get back to work,'” said Msgt. Donald Nelson, non-commissioned officer in charge.

“It was awesome!” said Shaun Sipma, Minot mayor.

“To me, the coolest part isn’t the door, but it’s seeing all of this all of these people come out here to make it all happen,” Nelson said.

For many people, this was their first time seeing something like this.

“Being able to be invited out here as a civilian, a bunch of civilians coming out here is really assuring that we have some very young, but very well-trained and reliable individuals with the U.S. military with great leadership, not only here in Minot but around the country,” Sipma added.

The last time this site was tested was in 2019. As always, the goal is to protect national security.

“It kind of shows them that we’re doing our job correctly every day and that if need be, these missiles will work. It shows to them that we’re here for their protection as well as our allies all around the world,” Nelson said.

They test the sites every two years. More missile sites across the country are also being tested this week.

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