741st Missile Squadron

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741st Missile Squadron
LGM-30G Minuteman III test launch.jpg
LGM-30G Minuteman III test launch at Vandenburg AFB, California
Active 1961-Present
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Type Squadron
Role Intercontinental ballistic missile
Garrison/HQ Minot AFB, North Dakota
Nickname "Gravelhaulers"
Motto FIDELITAS ET FORTITUDO—Fidelity and Fortitude[1]
Engagements European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Streamer.jpg
World War II (EAME Theater)
Decorations Streamer PUC Army.PNG
Distinguished Unit Citation (2x)
US Air Force Outstanding Unit Award - Stremer.jpg
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award (9x)
Commanders
Current
commander
Lt Col J. Keith Brown
Insignia
741st Missile Squadron emblem 741st Missile Squadron.png

The United States Air Force's 741st Missile Squadron is an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) unit located at Minot AFB, North Dakota.

Mission[edit]

The 741st Missile squadron vigilantly maintains the missile force around-the-clock. Each squadron controls 50 launch facilities and five missile alert facilities. Missile squadrons are divided into missile operations flights and an operation support flight.[2][3]

The missile operations flights are composed of officer crewmembers who, when on alert, are responsible for day-to-day operations, maintenance and security of the missiles within their control and are prepared to launch their missiles at all times. Facility managers are responsible for and ensure the readiness of the missile alert facilities. The alert facility chefs are responsible for providing meals to missile alert facility personnel.[1]

Each squadron is responsible for 5 flights of 10 missiles each, or 50 missiles. Sites are designated by flight, using one letter of the alphabet, followed by a number. The first site in each flight is #1 and designates the Missile Alert Facility (MAF) which consists of an above-ground structure plus an underground Launch Control Center (LCC) staffed by two officers. The Launch Facilities (LFs, i.e. missile silos) are numbered 2 through 11 and are connected to the MAF/LCC by the Hardened Intersite Cable System (HICS) which also interconnects flights. The 740th SMS includes flights A through E; the 741st includes flights F through J; and the 742nd includes flights K through O.

History[edit]

World War II[edit]

Established as a B-24 Liberator heavy bombardment unit in mid-1943; assigned to II Bomber Command for training. Primarily trained in New Mexico and Utah received deployment orders for the Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO) in November 1943. Moved to Virginia where the group flew long-range convoy escort missions over the Mid-Atlantic, October–November 1943 while station in Italy was being constructed.[1]

Deployed to Southern Italy in January 1944; entered combat in January 1944, being assigned to Fifteenth Air Force. Engaged in very long range strategic bombing missions to enemy military, industrial and transportation targets in Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Romania, and Yugoslavia, bombing railroad marshalling yards, oil refineries, airdrome installations, heavy industry, and other strategic objectives.

In addition to strategic missions in the Balkans, the group bombed troop concentrations, bridges, marshalling yards, and airdromes during the fall of 1944 to hamper the enemy’s withdrawal from the region. The group also supported ground forces at Anzio and Cassino in March 1944; knocked out gun positions in preparation for the invasion of Southern France in August 1944; and assisted the final Allied drive through Italy in April 1945 by hitting such targets as bridges, gun positions, and troop concentrations.

Remained in Italy after the German Capitulation in May, although unit personnel were demobilized throughout the summer of 1945. Group was inactivated in Italy on 9 September 1945.

Reactivated in the Air Force Reserve in 1947 with B-29 Superfortresses. Trained at Hensley Field, Texas. Inactivated in 1949 due to budget restrictions.

Tactical Air Command[edit]

Allocated to Tactical Air Command during the 1950s. Activated at Myrtle Beach AFB, South Carolina in 1956 as part of a second Fighter-Day Group planned for the new installation. Some personnel were assigned but never became operational with aircraft. Inactivated in July 1957 due to budget restrictions; personnel assigned were reassigned to 354th Fighter-Day Group.

Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Squadron[edit]

Reactivated on 1 Nov 1962 as an ICBM squadron assigned to the 455th Strategic Missile Wing at Minot AFB, North Dakota. Initially equipped with 50 LGM-30B Minuteman Is in 1963. Reassigned to 91st Strategic Missile Wing in 1968. Upgraded to LGM-30G Minuteman III in 1968/1969, has maintained ICBMs on alert ever since.

Communications[edit]

The 741 MS became the first unit in 20th Air Force/Air Force Space Command to operated the LCC Netlink computer system. This system allows missile combat crew members access to the Internet while on alert. Prior to Netlink, no external communication systems, aside from telephone, was allowed into the launch control center.[4]

Lineage[edit]

World War II 741st Bombardment Squadron emblem
  • Constituted 741st Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 14 May 1943
Activated on 1 Jun 1943
Inactivated on 9 Sep 1945
  • Re-designated 741st Bombardment Squadron (Very Heavy) on 27 Dec 1946
Activated in the reserve on 10 Jan 1947
Inactivated on 27 Jun 1949
  • Re-designated 741st Fighter-Day Squadron on 7 May 1956.
Activated on 25 Jul 1956
Inactivated on 1 Jul 1957
  • Re-designated 741st Strategic Missile Squadron, and activated, on 28 Jun 1962
Organized on 1 Nov 1962
Re-designated as 741st Missile Squadron on 1 Sep 1991.

Assignments[edit]

Stations[edit]

Aircraft and missiles[edit]

LGM-30 Minuteman Missile Alert and Launch Facilities

741st Missile Squadron Launch Facilities

Missile Alert Facilities (F-J flights, each controlling 10 missiles) are located as follows:
F-1 8.3 mi WxNW of Douglas ND, 47°53′46″N 101°40′26″W / 47.89611°N 101.67389°W / 47.89611; -101.67389 (F-01)
G-1 7.1 mi N of Plaza SD, 48°07′11″N 101°57′38″W / 48.11972°N 101.96056°W / 48.11972; -101.96056 (G-01)
H-1 4.3 mi WxNW of Parshall ND, 47°58′27″N 102°13′20″W / 47.97417°N 102.22222°W / 47.97417; -102.22222 (H-01)
I-1 4.3 mi ExNE of Stanley ND, 48°20′42″N 102°18′16″W / 48.34500°N 102.30444°W / 48.34500; -102.30444 (I-01)
J-1 9.8 mi NW of Berthold ND, 48°24′43″N 101°53′29″W / 48.41194°N 101.89139°W / 48.41194; -101.89139 (J-01)

See also[edit]

Coordinates: 48°24′57″N 101°21′29″W / 48.41583°N 101.35806°W / 48.41583; -101.35806 (Minot AFB)

References[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

External links[edit]