Hill Air Force Base celebrated the 50th anniversary of America's first land-based nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile operations at a ceremony Oct. 1.Rick Fuit, director of the 526th ICBM Systems Group Contracting, officiated the ceremony that marked 50 years of ICBMs' being on alert. Fuit added that the U.S. military also anticipates at least 20 more years of missile operations as well."Recent decisions were made to keep the Minuteman III operational past 2030," Fuit told the Hill AFB leadership in attendance at the ceremony last week. The first Atlas D model missile went on alert at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., October 1959."This began our commitment to the highest standards of performance in maintaining security and operating a series of the most powerful land-based missiles known to man," said Col. James Fisher, 526th ICBMSG commander, in remarks read by Fuit at the ceremony. Fisher was unable to attend due to a temporary duty assignment.Fisher was also quoted in his commitment to maintaining the current priorities of U.S. Air Force leadership to reinvigorate its nuclear enterprise. "We are returning to excellence in acquisition, supply and sustainment with more emphasis than ever before in zero-defects due to high consequences."Fisher referred to the Minuteman III missile as the most reliable and cost-effective tool ever used to defend the nation and is treating the current task to sustain the Minuteman III through 2030 "as one that will last forever -- certainly for our foreseeable future."Fuit concluded the ceremony by noting that past and future successes could not be maintained by the ICBM group alone and they rely on the support of the Team Hill community."There is no way we could do our mission successfully without the support of helping agencies, such as the (Ogden Air Logistics Center) and the 309th (Maintenance Wing), along with other industry partners and our local community," Fuit said.