The Torchlight Initiative

Examining cancers and disorders within the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Community.


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About The Torchlight Initiative

Torchlight is a non-government organization composed of current and former ICBM community members and their families.

Our mission is to address health issues of vital interest to the ICBM community, specifically, to address the higher rates of cancer and associated disorders amongst those that operated, maintained, supported, or protected ICBM delivery systems.

Our goal is to ensure the current and future ICBM environment is safe for all current and future personnel while continuing to support the vital deterrent capability inherent in the ICBM mission.

We will advocate for this community and ensure former and current community members receive education, health monitoring, health care, and when appropriate, VA claim service connection.


Cancer rate among Air Force missileers prompts questions, concerns. | MAR 26, 2024

Service members who worked at nuclear weapons facilities seek answers.

They Stood Sentry over America's Nuclear Missile Arsenal. Many Worry It Gave Them Cancer. | MAR 7, 2024

For years, it was an open secret among missileers that the Cold War-era missile alert facilities and launch control centers where they’d spend days sleeping, eating and staying on alert in case of nuclear armageddon were filled with things that might get them sick — carcinogens such as PCBs, lead paint, asbestos and tainted water. And every missileer veteran had at least one close friend who was battling a form of cancer.

The Air Force said its nuclear missile capsules were safe. But toxic dangers lurked, documents show. | DEC 29, 2023

A large pool of dark liquid festering on the floor. No fresh air. Computer displays that would overheat and ooze out a fishy-smelling gel that nauseated the crew. Asbestos readings 50 times higher than the Environmental Protection Agency’s safety standards.

These are just some of the past toxic risks that were in the underground capsules and silos where Air Force nuclear missile crews have worked since the 1960s. Now many of those service members have cancer.

The Air Force is expanding a review of cancers for service members who worked with nuclear missiles | DEC 4, 2023

The Air Force is expanding its study of whether service members who worked with nuclear missiles have had unusually high rates of cancer after a preliminary review determined that a deeper examination is needed. The initial study was launched in response to reports that many who served are now ill

Our Vision


Torchlight educates and builds awareness on the health issues impacting our community and we will encourage the DoD to proactively monitor and screen the community.


Cancer Registry/Cancer Study

Torchlight maintains a self-reported registry of missile community cancer diagnoses to support and inform any data gathered by a formal study.  Torchlight aims to inform future study design and ensure third-party medical and environmental experts participate in any study.


The missile community’s permanent medical records should consistently and completely document all toxic exposures related to service.  We will advocate for our former/current/future missileers and their families to ensure they receive their earned compensation.


This is a cancer registry managed by a NGO. 

We are collecting this info to support or supplement a future study commissioned by proper authorities.  Please feel free to voluntarily register if you are/were part of the missile community and have a diagnosed cancer, blood or autoimmune disorder


Real Heroes. Real Stories.

On the battlefield, concealment is a survival skill | Off that battlefield,
transparency enables survival | Through the telling of each story, we are united as one | In the telling of the collective, we find our own.

These are our stories. This is our story. | A. Dietz


Diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme

2022, at the age of 57.


Diagnosed with NHL/B-Cell/Follicular

2018, at the age of 42.



Diagnosed with Cutaneous T-cell Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

2015, at the age of 42.


Diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

2000, at the age of 28.



Diagnosed with NHL/Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

January 2022

Ryan Luecke

Diagnosed with NHL/Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

May 2020, at the age of 45.


Diagnosed with Seborrheic Dermatitis & Pruritus. 


Captain Jason Leo Jenness 04/06/1970-07/22/2001

Diagnosed with NHL/Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma.


Diagnosed with NHL/Mantle Cell Lymphoma.

30 Sep 2022 at age of 42.


MAJOR MARK HOLMES 12/21/1982-05/12/2020

Diagnosed with NHL/Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma

There’s no room for incomplete knowledge or substandard performance when caring for the missile community.

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