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SpOC hosts second Missile Community Cancer Study town hall

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt Hillary Gibson
  • Space Operations Command

Space Operations Command hosted a second Missile Community Cancer Study town hall, August 24.    

Members of SpOC attended a town hall related to the Missile Community Cancer Study, hosted by SpOC Commander Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting. Those in attendance received an update regarding the study from Maj. Gen. Michael Lutton, 20th Air Force commander.   

“The purpose of today’s town hall is to connect some of the experts in this process to those who may be directly impacted by it and allow them to ask questions,” said Whiting. “This topic affects many of you directly so our primary goal must be transparency.”    

During the town hall, Lutton provided an overview of the study to date and answered questions posed by the more than 100 in-person and virtual attendees.   

“Our approach is to get information out to those individuals who currently and have previously served in the community - our operators, maintainers and defenders,” said Lutton. “It is our responsibility to ensure we are providing the safest launch facilities and launch control centers for our members. We are committed to being deliberate in seeing this through until we are satisfied we have a world-class environment for our personnel.”   

The 20 AF is the missile numbered air force for Air Force Global Strike Command and is responsible for operating, maintaining, securing and supporting the Air Force’s Intercontinental Ballistic Missile force operating out of the three installations at the heart of the study – Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana, F. E. Warren AFB in Wyoming and Minot AFB in North Dakota. In addition to these bases, Vandenberg Space Force Base will be assessed as part of the study.    

The comprehensive study, approved by AFGSC Commander Gen. Thomas Bussiere, is being performed by United States Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine and officially began in February 2023.    

Estimated to take approximately 12 – 14 months, the scope of the study is intentionally broad, encompassing multiple locations and the missileer and associated career fields. To date, initial results of the nearly 1,000 swipe tests and 90 air tests from three locations have been released.  In total, there will be three rounds of testing to account for seasonal variations. All rounds will include surface, air and ground samples.   

“We are still early in our comprehensive study of any potential health impacts to our Airmen and Guardians as a result of duty in the missile community, and we deeply appreciate the survey team's effort and hard work,” said Bussiere. “Many other tests are still being performed by our medical and bioenvironmental professionals, and as we get those results, we will provide updates to our Airmen, [Guardians], and families in a rapid and transparent manner.”    

Individuals are encouraged to proactively communicate with a medical professional about any concerns they may have relating to their health.   

The most up to date information about the study can be found on the Missile Community Cancer Study website. Questions of a non-medical nature can be submitted through the AFGSC official website or via the Office of the Air Force Surgeon General.   

Space Operations Command is the fight-tonight force and first Field Command of the U.S. Space Force. SpOC’s mission is to protect America and our allies in, from and to and into the future.