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The 110-ton launcher closure door at Launch Facility T-49 is pulled off its rails into a hole Aug. 5, 2014. The site is the last of 50 Minuteman III missile launch silos once operated by the 564th Missile Squadron that are being eliminated from Malmstrom AFB, Mont., in compliance with the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. Air Force photo by SrA. Katrina Heikkinen.

The last of 50 deactivated Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launch facilities once operated by the 564th Missile Squadron at Malmstrom AFB, Mont., were demolished Aug. 5, another step toward US compliance with the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, signed with Russia in 2010. With Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson, Air Force Global Strike Command commander, and Col. Tom Wilcox, 341st Missile Wing commander, watching, contractors used heavy equipment to bury the site’s 110-ton launcher closure door and fill the launch tube with dirt, eliminating it as a usable missile launch silo. The removal of the 564th MS’s ICMB sites now leaves the 341st MW with 150 Minuteman III missiles on alert. Destruction of the former missile launch sites must be verified by Russia within 60 days. In addition, another 50 silos already were destroyed at F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo., leaving only three ICBM test silos at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., yet to be destroyed before the US the New START mandate. The treaty, which became effective Feb. 5, 2011, limits both countries to 1,550 nuclear warheads deployed on 700 ICMBs, sea-launched ballistic missiles, and nuclear-capable bombers. (Malmstrom release)