390th Strategic Missile Wing
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|390th Strategic Missile Wing|
390th Strategic Missile Wing Insignia
|Active||1943 – 1945 (USAAF)
1962 – 1984 (USAF)
|Branch||United States Air Force|
|Part of||Strategic Air Command|
During World War II, its predecessor unit, the 390th Bombardment Group (Heavy) was an Eighth Air Force B-17 Flying Fortress unit in England, stationed at RAF Framlingham. The group flew 300 combat missions with 8,725 sorties. Its last mission was on 20 April 1945. Aircraft MIA: 144.
World War II
Activated 26 January 1943 at Geiger Field Washington. Formation did not begin until late February 1943. Training at Geiger until 6 June 1943 when the Group moved to Great Falls AAB, Montana. The aircraft went overseas on 4 July 1943 taking the northern ferry route from Iceland to Prestwick, where the first aircraft arrived on 13 July 1943. The ground unit left for Camp Shanks, New York on 4 July 1943 and sailed on the USS James Parker on 17 July 1943, and they arrived in Liverpool on 27 July 1943. Assigned to Eighth Air Force. The 390th was assigned to the 13th Combat Bombardment Wing, and the group tail code was a "Square-J".
The group operated as part of the Eighth Air Force's strategic bombing campaign and operated chiefly against strategic objectives, flying many missions with the aid of pathfinders. The 390th began combat on 12 August 1943. Five days later, the group attacked the Messerschmitt aircraft complex at Regensburg and received a Distinguished Unit Citation for the mission.
The 390th received a 2d DUC for a mission on 14 October 1943 when the group braved unrelenting assaults by enemy fighters to bomb the antifriction-bearing plants at Schweinfurt. Participating in the intensive Allied assault on the German aircraft industry during Big Week, 20–25 February 1944, the organization bombed aircraft factories, instrument plants and air parks. Other strategic missions included attacks on marshalling yards at Frankfurt, bridges at Cologne, oil facilities at Zeitz, factories at Mannheim, naval installations at Bremen and synthetic oil refineries at Merseburg.
The group sometimes flew interdictory and support missions. Bombing the coast near Caen fifteen minutes before the landings in Normandy on 6 June 1944. Attacked enemy artillery in support of ground forces during the breakthrough at Saint-Lô in July. Cut German supply lines during the Battle of the Bulge, December 1944 – January 1945. Hit airfields in support of the airborne assault across the Rhine in March 1945.
The 390th Bomb Group flew its last combat mission on 20 April 1945. In over 300 missions, they dropped 19,000 tons of bombs. They lost 181 aircraft and seven hundred and fourteen airmen were killed. The group dropped food supplies to the Dutch during the week prior to V-E Day.
Redeployed States in June/August 1945. the aircraft left from Framlingham on the 25 and 26 June 1945. the ground unit sailed from Greenock on the Queen Elizabeth on 5 August 1945 and arrived in New York on 11 August 1945. The group was established at Sioux Falls AAFd South Dakota and inactivated there on 28 August 1945.
On 20 April 1960, the Fifteenth Air Force announced selection of the base to support a Titan II missile wing. The 1 January 1962, activation of the 390th Strategic Missile Wing (SMW) marked the first standing up of a Titan II missile wing.
Its two component squadrons were the Arizona Sites 570th and the 571st Strategic Missile Squadrons.
Launcher locations for the 570th SMS were at Oracle, Three Points, Rillito (4 silos), and Oracle Junction (3 silos). The 571st SMS silos were located at Benson (2 silos), Mescal, Pantano, Continental (2 silos), Palo Alto, and Three Points. On 31 March 1963, site 570-2 (Three Points) was turned over to SAC for operational use. Additional silos joined the SAC inventory until 30 November, when the 18th and final Titan II went on alert. See missile squadron links for list of missile silos and geographic locations.
The 390th SMW became the first operational Titan II missile wing in the Air Force.
With a requirement to keep all 18 missiles on alert status around the clock, maintenance personnel often put in 80- to go-hour work weeks. Eventually, response times to act on maintenance problems were loosened to allow crews to react during normal working hours. Maintenance did ease at the end of 1964, as the Davis-Monthan silos became the first to receive "Project Green Jug" treatment entailing the installation of dehumidifier equipment that eased corrosion problems within the silos. Additional modifications would be made to increase missile reliability, survivability, and reaction time. Also toward the end of 1964, the 390th SMW underwent the first operational readiness inspection for a Titan II unit.
On 25 January 1965, Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey toured complex 571-7. One month later, the 390th SMW performed the first operational launch test of one of its Titan 11s at Vandenberg AFB, California. Many more successful tests followed.
Competing in SAC's first ever missile competition called "Project Curtain Raiser" in 1967, the 390th SMW garnered the first "best crew" trophy. Since 1967, the Wing earned many additional accolades at these competitions which became known as "Olympic Arena."
In October 1981, President Ronald Reagan announced that as part of the strategic modernization program, Titan II systems were to be retired by 1 October 1987. Deactivation began at Davis-Monthan on 1 October 1982. During the operation, titled "Rivet Cap", the missiles were removed and shipped to Norton AFB, California for refurbishment and storage. Explosive demolition began at the headworks of missile complex 570-7 on 30 November 1983. During the following May, the last Titan II at Davis-Monthan came off alert status.
Two months later, SAC inactivated the 390th Strategic Missile Wing.
- Constituted as 390th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 15 January 1943
- Activated on 26 January 1943
- Inactivated on 28 August 1945
- Established as 390th Bombardment Wing, Medium, on 23 March 1953
- Redesignated 390th Strategic Missile Wing (ICBM–Titan), and activated, on 28 November 1961
- Organized on 1 January 1962
- Inactivated on 31 July 1984
- Attached to: 402d Provisional Combat Bombardment Wing, July 1943
- 13th Combat Bombardment Wing, 8 January 1944 – 4 August 1945
- Second Air Force, 12–28 August 1945
- Strategic Air Command, 28 November 1961
- 12th Air (later, 12th Strategic Aerospace; 12th Strategic Missile; 12th Air) Division, 1 January 1962 – 31 July 1984
- 568th Bombardment Squadron (BI), 26 January 1943 – 28 August 1945
- 569th Bombardment Squadron (CC), 26 January 1943 – 28 August 1945
- 570th Bombardment (later Stragegic Missile) Squadron (DI), 26 January 1943 – 28 August 1945; 1 January 1962-31 July 1984
- 571st Bombardment (later Stragegic Missile) Squadron (FC), 26 January 1943 – 28 August 1945; 1 January 1962-31 July 1984
- Geiger Field, Washington, 26 January 1943 – 5 June 1943
- Great Falls AAB/Gore Field, Montana, 6 June – 4 July 1943
- RAF Framlingham (USAAF Station 153), England, July 1943 – 4 August 1945
- Sioux Falls AAFld, South Dakota, 12–28 August 1945
- Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, 1 January 1962 – 31 July 1984
Aircraft and missiles
Distinguished Flying Cross Recipients from 390th BG
|Herbert H. Alexander||Kenneth Allebach||John H. Alvey||Andrew Anzanos|
|Andrew J. Archipole||Ray Armstrong||Darwin E. Arnold||Walter A. Backman|
|Charles R. Bennett||James S. Bennett||Richard C. Berryman||Robert J. Billington|
|Wade Birmingham||Vincent J. Black||Lester E. Boettcher||William H. Bowman|
|William H. Breeze||Max Brier||Jack T. Bright||Robert N. Brown|
|Robert H. Buhrmaster||Richard B. Bushong||Bernard M. Campbell||William A. Catto|
|William R. Centerwall||Orman M. Coffin||Fletcher F. Conn||Harold M. Cummings|
|Robert L. Datz||Samuel O. Davis||Louis W. Dolan||Kenneth E. Dougherty|
|Henry C. Douglas, Jr.||George W. Durkee||John A. Embry||Edgar C. Engelbrecht|
|Delmer D. Everly||James P. Fitzsimmons||Richard A. Foster||Scott P. Gerhart|
|Jack M. Giles||Robert O. Good||William K. Gower||Chester P. Gunn|
|Robert N. Hale||Ray R. Hall||Elmer C. Hanselman||High H. Hardwicke Jr.|
|Crockett L. Harmon||Warren L. Hasse||Warren H. Hawes||Maurice M. Heaton Jr.|
|Edgar C. Heeseler||Robert A. Heiser||Robert M. Henry||John J. Hickey|
|Patrick H. Hodgkin||Philip D. Holman||Elbert R. Hoover||Milton S. Houser|
|Robert S. Jacobs||Charles S. Jager||Thomas S. Jeffrey||Ora L. Jenkins|
|Clifford H. Jernigan||Marvin C. Johns||Stanley A. Johnson||George F. McInerney|
|Edwin McMichael||Howard F. Menadier||Jack Miller||Joseph A. Moller|
|Edgar W. Moody||Frederick W. Ott||Robert H. Padbury||Robert M. Parker|
|David P. Parry||William F. Pennebaker||Robert F. Redlinger||Robert W. Sabel|
|Edmund D. Shaw||Marshall B. Shore||Berton S. Spring||Clarence A. Strawn|
|Robert G. Stutzman||Robert M. Tuttle||George W. Von Arb||Robert W. Waltz|
|Robert W. Watts||Gene O. Williams||Edgar M. Wittan||Calvin Coolidge “Cal” Worthington|
- Anzanos, Andy. My Combat Diary With Eighth Air Force B-17s 390th Bomb Group. Lulu.com, 2006. ISBN 1-4116-9830-4.
- Drain, Richard E. 390th Bomb Group: History of the Aircraft Assigned. Selfpublised manuscript, 1993.
- Maurer, Maurer. Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: Office of Air Force History, 1983. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
- Milliken, Albert E. (ed.) The Story of the 390th Bombardment Group (H): The Unit History of the Square J Group of the Eighth Air Force, European Theater of Operations, 1943–1945. New York: Eilert Printing Company, 1947.
- Perry, Richard H. (ed.) The 390th Bomb Group Anthology, Volume II. Tucson, Arizona: 390th Memorial Museum Foundation, 1985.
- Ravenstein, Charles A. Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories, 1947–1977. Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: Office of Air Force History, 1984. ISBN 0-912799-12-9.
- Richarz, Wilbert H. with Richard H. Perry and William J. Robinson. The 390th Bomb Group Anthology. Tucson, Arizona: 390th Memorial Museum Foundation, 1983.
- Richarz, Wilbert H. with Richard H. Perry and William J. Robinson. The 390th Bomb Group Anthology, Volume II. Tucson, Arizona: 390th Memorial Museum Foundation, 1985.
- 390th Bombardment Group: 50th Anniversary Commemorative History. Paducah, Kentucky: Turner Publishing Company, 1994. Republished 1997.
- 390th Memorial Museum
- 390th Strategic Missile Wing History
- Framlingham UK website Many original photographs supplied by veterans and their families plus modern day photographs and details of the restored control tower and museum.