Not many mother-daughter duos can say they’ve each launched an intercontinental ballistic missile. In actual fact, Linda and Taylor Tonnies could be the solely pair in a position to make such a declare.
Then-1st Lt. Linda Tonnies turned the launch key on a Minuteman III ICBM at Vandenberg Air Drive Base, California, on June 8, 1994, as a part of Glory Journey 155. Operational check launches, known as Glory Journeys, are a once-in-a-lifetime alternative for a lot of missileers, which is why it’s so shocking that now, greater than 26 years later, Linda’s daughter has performed the identical.
1st Lt. Taylor Tonnies, a missile operator with the 742nd Missile Squadron, was one in every of two operators at Vandenberg to show the important thing for Glory Trip 236 on Oct. 29.
“It’s an enormous honor for anybody to get chosen for Glory Journey, and I’m very glad to be right here,” Taylor mentioned in an Air Drive information launch. “Having the chance to launch a missile is uncommon, and I couldn’t be happier to have this chance. I acquired much more excited to seek out out that the missile got here from Minot and I really watched it whereas I used to be on alert!”
Each girls served within the 91st Missile Wing at Minot Air Drive Base, North Dakota, prepared to supply nuclear capabilities around the globe at a second’s discover.
“It was an unbelievable expertise,” Linda mentioned of Glory Journey 155. “The 91st Missile Wing did, and nonetheless does, a superb job of teaching the operators about upkeep and safety operations, however a Glory Journey is at a unique stage. Touring the launch facility, assembly and speaking with the maintainers provides perspective. Studying concerning the command heart, the place the monitoring takes place and the selections that have been made, added a layer of complexity that I had but to expertise as a lieutenant with no prior Air Drive expertise.”
Changing into a missileer was Linda’s dream when she graduated from Officer Coaching Faculty in 1991. Her daughter, nevertheless, was much less certain of her profession path.
“My mother undoubtedly impressed me to be within the Air Drive and all the time informed me how nice being a missileer was. I feel seeing it from her perspective helped me see the profession area for what it’s,” mentioned Taylor, who commissioned by way of the Air Drive Academy in 2018.
“I inspired her to select missiles from the primary day she began on the Air Drive Academy,” Linda mentioned. “As an operator, it’s a troublesome area, however very rewarding. I’ve all the time thought-about missile responsibility to be the Air Drive’s best-kept secret. Now, I’m blissful to cross the accountability on to my daughter.”
The unarmed Minuteman III ICBM launched throughout Glory Flight 236 impacted a predetermined goal close to Military House and Missile Protection Command’s Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Test Defense Site within the Marshall Islands, roughly 4,200 miles from Vandenberg.
In accordance with an Military press launch, the Reagan Check Website’s radars, optical sensors, and telemetry have helped to check the accuracy and reliability of weapons like GT 236′s ICBM for greater than 50 years.
“The Reagan Check Website mission (on this check) is to supply Air Drive World Strike Command with the required knowledge for them to carry out Minuteman III system efficiency evaluation,” mentioned Military Col. Eugene M. Poindexter, director of the RTS. “The RTS crew is devoted to the GT-236 mission, doing every part of their energy to make sure that RTS supplies distinctive assist.”
Along with recording knowledge from impression, RTS personnel assisted in performing environmental impression evaluation, vary scheduling, and logistical assist to make sure a secure check launch.