90th Missile Wing

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90th Missile Wing
90th Space Wing.png
90th Missile Wing emblem
Active 1942 – Present
Country  United States
Allegiance  United States Air Force
Branch Air Force Global Strike Command
Type Missile
Role Nuclear Deterrence
Part of Twentieth Air Force
Garrison/HQ Warren AFB, Wyoming
Motto IMPAVIDE - "Undauntedly"
Engagements World War II
Cold War
Decorations AF Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon.png DUC
Outstanding Unit ribbon.svg AFOUA
Presidential Unit Citation (Philippines).svg PPUC
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Lincoln D. Faurer
Lance W. Lord

Coordinates: 41°07′59″N 104°52′01″W / 41.13306°N 104.86694°W / 41.13306; -104.86694 (Francis E. Warren AFB) The 90th Missile Wing (90 MW) is a unit of the United States Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) Twentieth Air Force. It is stationed at Francis E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming.

The mission of the "Mighty Ninety" is to defend the United States of America with a combat-ready ICBM force of 150 Minuteman III ICBMs being on full alert 24 hours a day, 365 days a year at 20 missile alert facilities deployed over 12,600 square miles (33,000 km2).[citation needed]

The Wing's origins date to 1942 when the 90th Bombardment Group was established. It operated primarily in the Southwest Pacific Theater as an B-24 Liberator heavy bomber unit assigned to Fifth Air Force. The 90th Operations Group carries the lineage and history of its highly decorated World War II predecessor unit.

Units[edit]

  • The 90th Operations Group provides over 1,500 combat-ready personnel on continuous alert to operate, protect, maintain, and support 150 ICBMs and 20 missile alert facilities deployed over 12,600 square miles (33,000 km2) and provides the North American Aerospace Defense Command and the Air Force Global Strike Command with road mobile, survivable, and endurable command, control, and communications, and base support capability.
  • The 90th Mission Support Group provides mission support to 20th Air Force, 90th MW and all associate organizations. This support includes base engineering, food services, billeting, recreational programs, transportation, contracting support, central base administration and educational and personnel services for more than 4,000 military and civilian employees and their families.
  • The 90th Security Forces Group provides continuous security for the 90th Missile Wing's and United States's most vital assets.
  • The 90th Maintenance Group works 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to ensure the ICBM force remains safe, reliable and effective. They provide training and evaluation for over 650 maintenance personnel, maintaining over 200 specialized maintenance vehicles, and 850 mission specific pieces of equipment.

History[edit]

For additional history and lineage, see 90th Operations Group

Strategic Reconnaissance Wing[edit]

90th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing emblem
90th Bombardment Wing Boeing B-29-100-BW Superfortress 45-21846. Was converted to an F-13 Photo-Reconnaissance aircraft, re-designated RB-29 in 1948

The 90th Bombardment Wing, Medium was established in late December 1950 as part of the postwar Hobson Plan. The 90th Bombardment Group, reactivated by Strategic Air Command in 1947 was assigned as its combat group. The new wing was organized at Fairchild AFB, Washington where it received B-29 Superfortresses along with some RB-29s.

The wing was reassigned almost immediately to Forbes AFB, Kansas in March; its mission was to train B-29 aircrews and mechanics for combat duty with SAC units engaged in Korean War combat duty with Far East Air Forces. In June 1992 its combat group was inactivated upon conversion to the tri-deputate organization plan, and beginning in November 1952, training included SHORAN electronic navigation and bombing.

In June 1954 the first Boeing RB-47E Stratojet arrived, the wing being redesignated 90th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, Medium, taking over the mission of the 55th SRW which had moved to Ramey AFB, Puerto Rico. Until 1958 the wing engaged in very long range strategic reconnaissance missions, September 1953-May 1958, and air refueling missions, February 1956-June 1960. Many of these missions took place along or over communist controlled territory, with 90th SRW aircraft first flying to Thule AB, Greenland then probing deep into the heart of the Soviet Union, taking a photographic and radar recording of the route attacking SAC bombers would follow to reach their targets. The risks involved in mounting these dangerous sorties over some of the most inhospitable terrain on earth speaks volumes for the courage and skill of the crews involved.

By 1958 the RB-47 had become vulnerable to Soviet Air defenses and also was being replaced in intelligence gathering operations by the Lockheed U-2. The 90th SRW changed to becoming an RB-47 combat crew training wing, May 1958-June 1960.

Inactivated in 1960 as part of phaseout of RB-47. Many personnel absorbed by activation of 40th Bombardment Wing at Forbes same date; being moved from Schilling Air Force Base same date.

Strategic Missile Wing[edit]

90th Strategic Missile Wing (SAC) emblem
An LGM-30G Minuteman III missile inside a silo.

On 15 October 1962, Morrison-Knudsen and Associates won the contract to construct 200 Minuteman silos over an area of 8,300 square miles (21,000 km2) in Wyoming, Nebraska, and Colorado, located north and east of FE Warren AFB. Due to an innovative drilling technique and milder than normal weather conditions, which allowed for accelerated progress during the winter months, work on the silos proceeded at a rapid rate.

The 90th Strategic Missile Wing was reactivated on 1 July 1963, when Strategic Air Command organized the first wing dedicated solely to intercontinental ballistic missile operations. Over the next year, the 319th, 320th and 321st squadrons associated with the unit since its World War II B-24 era were reactivated as Strategic Missile Squadrons (SMS), being assigned to LGM-30B Minuteman I ICBM operations. The first Minuteman I site, A-6, reached completion on 2 October 1963. The 400th SMS was the last squadron to stand up on 1 July 1964. With four operational squadrons, the 90th SMW controlled 200 ICBMs.

Unlike previous weapon systems, the Minuteman ICBM had the capability of being fired from hardened and widely-dispersed underground silo launchers. The first Minuteman missiles deployed at F.E. Warren AFB were the "B" models, which contained one warhead.

In November 1972, SAC initiated the Minuteman Integrated Improvement Program. The program entailed silo hardening and upgrading command data buffers, which allowed for quicker missile retargeting. In addition to receiving upgraded silos and launcher control facilities, Warren also received new missiles. With conversion to the LGM-30G Minuteman III model, Warren's last Minuteman I model went off alert status in September 1974.

On 22 November 1982, in a decision statement for Congress, President Ronald Reagan stated his plan to deploy the MX missile dubbed "Peacekeeper" to superhardened silos controlled by the 90th SMW at F.E. Warren. The Vice Commander-in-Chief of SAC, Lieutenant General George Miller, explained that location, geography, and geology were key factors for selecting the base.

In 1988, 50 LGM-118A Peacekeeper missiles were brought on alert in modified Minuteman III missile silos, under the control of the 400th Strategic Missile Squadron. The Peacekeeper, at the time the best ICBM in the world, was capable of delivering 10 independently-targeted warheads with greater accuracy than any other ballistic missile. Its deployment fulfilled a key goal of the strategic modernization program and added strength and credibility to the ground-based leg of the strategic triad of the United States.

Following the Cold War, the Air Force began restructuring and downsizing. On 29 August 1991 the wing converted to the Objective Organization plan, which realigned the operational missile squadrons to the new 90th Operations Group, a re-designation and activation of the former 90th Bombardment Group. Strategic Air Command (SAC) and Tactical Air Command (TAC) were inactivated 1 June 1992, the wing was realigned under the new Air Combat Command (ACC). On 1 July 1993, the 20th Air Force, headquarters for all U.S. ICBM operations (including the 90th Space Wing), was realigned under Air Force Space Command (AFSPC), headquartered at Peterson AFB, Colorado.

The 90th was selected as the first missile base to upgrade Minuteman III Launch Control Centers (LCC’s) with the Rapid Execution and Combat Targeting (REACT) modification. Existing LCC’s had not been upgraded significantly since being brought on line in the early 1960s. REACT replaced the outdated command and control consoles with a single, integrated state of the art, computer processing console. Major improvements in automation allow combat crews to more rapidly process message traffic and carry out execution orders if needed. The REACT and other planned modernization programs will ensure that the Minuteman III system will be a formidable weapons system well into the 21st Century.

Budgetary constraints and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 led to the inactivation of the 50 Peacekeeper ICBMs beginning in 2001. In 2005 the last Peacekeeper was taken out of its silo and the 400th Missile Squadron was inactivated. The three Minuteman III squadrons, however were retained.

Redesignated as 90th Missile Wing in 2008 and in 2009 was assigned to the United States Air Force Global Strike Command.

Lineage[edit]

  • Established as 90th Bombardment Wing, Medium, on 20 December 1950.
Activated on 2 January 1951.
Redesignated as 90th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, Medium, on 16 June 1956.
Discontinued on 20 June 1960.
  • Redesignated as 90th Strategic Missile Wing (ICBM-Minuteman) on 21 February 1963.
Organized on 1 July 1963.
Redesignated as 90th Missile Wing on 1 September 1991.
Redesignated as 90th Space Wing on 1 October 1992.
Redesignated as 90th Missile Wing on 1 July 2008.

Assignments[edit]

Attached to 92d Bombardment Wing, Heavy, 2–31 January 1951.

Components[edit]

Group

  • 90 Bombardment (later, 90 Operations): 2 January 1951-16 June 1952; 1 September 1991–present.

Squadrons

Stations[edit]

Aircraft and missiles[edit]

Also: RB-29, 1951, 1952–1954; TB-29, 1951–1952; KB-29, 1953–1954
90th MW - Missile Alert Facilities
319 MS (Black)
320 MS (Green)
321 MS (Blue)
400 MS (Purple) (LGM-118A)
Missile Alert Facilities (MAF) (each controlling 10 missiles) are located as follows:
319th Missile Squadron
A-01 10.7 mi SW of Albin WY, 41°19′44″N 104°15′56″W / 41.32889°N 104.26556°W / 41.32889; -104.26556 (A-01)
B-01 12.2 mi SE of LaGrange WY, 41°30′41″N 103°59′41″W / 41.51139°N 103.99472°W / 41.51139; -103.99472 (B-01)
C-01 3.7 mi ExNE of Harrisburg NE, 41°34′50″N 103°40′25″W / 41.58056°N 103.67361°W / 41.58056; -103.67361 (C-01)
D-01 10.3 mi NxNE of Bushnell NE, 41°21′41″N 103°47′39″W / 41.36139°N 103.79417°W / 41.36139; -103.79417 (D-01)
E-01 7.1 mi SE of Pine Bluffs WY, 41°06′09″N 103°59′00″W / 41.10250°N 103.98333°W / 41.10250; -103.98333 (E-01)
320th Missile Squadron
F-01 8.9 mi N of Dix NE, 41°21′49″N 103°29′20″W / 41.36361°N 103.48889°W / 41.36361; -103.48889 (F-01)
G-01 7.7 mi NW of Sidney NE, 41°12′31″N 103°05′48″W / 41.20861°N 103.09667°W / 41.20861; -103.09667 (G-01)
H-01 7.3 mi E of Gurley NE, 41°19′30″N 102°49′46″W / 41.32500°N 102.82944°W / 41.32500; -102.82944 (H-01)
I-01 9.3 mi SW of Sunol NE, 41°02′44″N 102°51′57″W / 41.04556°N 102.86583°W / 41.04556; -102.86583 (I-01)
J-01 4.6 mi W of Peetz CO, 40°57′38″N 103°11′56″W / 40.96056°N 103.19889°W / 40.96056; -103.19889 (J-01)
321st Missile Squadron
K-01 10.6 mi WxSW of Potter NE, 41°08′13″N 103°29′18″W / 41.13694°N 103.48833°W / 41.13694; -103.48833 (K-01)
L-01 21.9 mi N of Stoneham CO, 40°55′17″N 103°41′30″W / 40.92139°N 103.69167°W / 40.92139; -103.69167 (L-01)
M-01 15.1 mi WxNW of Sterling CO, 40°42′15″N 103°28′35″W / 40.70417°N 103.47639°W / 40.70417; -103.47639 (M-01)
N-01 1.7 mi N of Raymer CO, 40°37′54″N 103°50′11″W / 40.63167°N 103.83639°W / 40.63167; -103.83639 (N-01)
O-01 11.8 mi E of Grover CO, 40°53′05″N 104°00′01″W / 40.88472°N 104.00028°W / 40.88472; -104.00028 (O-01)
With the deployment of the LGM-118A, 50 former Minuteman III silos were converted. 400th SMS Flights P through T were reassigned to the Peacekeeper for operational duty.
P-01, 18.0 mi N of Hillsdale WY, 41°28′20″N 104°28′04″W / 41.47222°N 104.46778°W / 41.47222; -104.46778 (P-01)
Q-01, 15.4 mi SxSW of Chugwater WY 41°32′35″N 104°54′10″W / 41.54306°N 104.90278°W / 41.54306; -104.90278 (Q-01)
R-01, 16.4 mi NW of Meriden WY, 41°44′17″N 104°30′00″W / 41.73806°N 104.50000°W / 41.73806; -104.50000 (R-01)
S-01, 4.8 mi SE of Yoder WY, 41°52′23″N 104°13′20″W / 41.87306°N 104.22222°W / 41.87306; -104.22222 (S-01)
T-01, 9.1 mi ExSE of Wheatland WY, 41°59′51″N 104°47′30″W / 41.99750°N 104.79167°W / 41.99750; -104.79167 (T-01)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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

External links[edit]