400th Missile Squadron

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400th Missile Squadron
Air Force Space Command.png
LGM-118A Peacekeeper Test Launch.jpg
LGM-118A Peacekeeper Test Launch at Vandenburg AFB, California
Active 1942-1946; 1947-1948; 1964-2005
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Type Squadron
Role Intercontinental ballistic missile
Nickname(s) Black Pirates (World War II)
Engagements Southwest Pacific Theater
Decorations Streamer PUC Army.PNG
Distinguished Unit Citation (3x)
US Air Force Outstanding Unit Award - Stremer.jpg
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
Philippine Presidential Unit Citation Streamer.png
Philippine Presidential Unit Citation
Insignia
400th Missile Squadron emblem (approved 17 November 1994)[1] 400thmissielsquadron.jpg
400th Strategic Missile Squadron emblem. (approved 25 February 1966)[1] 400 Strategic Missile Squadron emblem.png
400th Bombardment Squadron emblem (approved 10 April 1943)[1] 400th Bombardment Squadron - Emblem.png
Unofficial 400th Bombardment Sq emblem used in the Pacific[2][note 1] 400th Bomb Sq emblem.png

The 400th Missile Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the 90th Operations Group at Francis E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming, where it was inactivated in 2005.

The squadron was first activated as the 10th Reconnaissance Squadron in 1942. Soon renamed the 400th Bombardment Squadron, it flew Consolidated B-24 Liberators in the Pacific during World War II, where it earned two Distinguished Unit Citations and a Philippine Republic Presidential Unit Citation for its actions in combat. After VJ Day, the squadron remained in the Philippines until January 1946, when it was inactivated.

The squadron was activated again in 1964 as the 400th Strategic Missile Squadron, an LGM-30B Minuteman I intercontinental ballistic missile squadron. In 1973 it modernized its Minutemen and in 1986 became the only operational squadron in the Air Force to equip with the LGM-118A Peacekeeper. The squadron was inactivated when the Peacekeeper was removed from the inventory in September 2005, during the implementation of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.

History[edit]

World War II[edit]

Media related to 90th Bombardment Group at Wikimedia Commons

B-24D-170-CO Liberator 42-72956 on Mission to Wewak, New Guinea, 24 February 1944

The squadron was first organized as the 10th Reconnaissance Squadron at Key Field, Mississippi in April 1942 as a Consolidated B-24 Liberator unit and one of the original squadrons of the 90th Bombardment Group. Within a week the squadron name was changed to the 400th Bombardment Squadron. The squadron trained with Liberators in the southeastern United States under III Bomber Command until August.[3]

"Jolly Rogers" of the 90th Bombardment Group on a mission, 1943

The squadron moved to Willow Run Airport, Michigan for conversion training on newly manufactured Ford Liberators. Assigned to VII Bomber Command with B-24Ds, the unit moved to Hickam Field, Hawaii in September. The squadron arrived in northern Queensland, Australia in November 1942 and began bombardment missions under V Bomber Command almost immediately.[3]

The squadron attacked enemy airfields, troop concentrations, ground installations and shipping in New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago, Palau and the southern Philippines. The 400th was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for its operations in Papua between through January 1943. The unit participated in the Battle of Bismarck Sea in March 1943, and earned another citation for strikes on enemy airfields at Wewak, New Guinea in September 1943 despite heavy flak and fighter opposition.[3]

During 1944, the 400th supported the New Guinea Campaign through the end of June, then made long-range raids on oil refineries at Balikpapan, Borneo, in September and October. In January 1945, the squadron moved to the Philippines and supported ground forces on Luzon, attacked industrial targets on Formosa, and bombed railways, airfields, and harbor facilities on the Asiatic mainland. Shortly before the end of the war in the Pacific, the 90th moved to Okinawa, from which it would be able to strike the Japanese home islands.[3]

After VJ Day, the squadron flew reconnaissance missions over Japan and ferried Allied prisoners of war from Okinawa to Manila. It ceased operations by November 1945. The squadron was inactivated in the Philippines in early 1946.[4]

Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles[edit]

Uniform showing an alternative "skull and missiles" shoulder patch.

Media related to 90th Missile Wing at Wikimedia Commons

LGM-30 Minuteman/LGM-118A Peacekeeper Missile Alert and Launch Facilities

The squadron was reactivated on 1 July 1964 as an intercontinental ballistic missile squadron assigned to the 90th Strategic Missile Wing at Francis E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming, and equipped with fifty LGM-30B Minuteman Is, equipped with a single reentry vehicle. The squadron was the last of the 90th Wing's four Minuteman squadrons to activate. Beginning in June 1973, its Minuteman I missiles began to be replaced by LGM-30G Minuteman IIIs, which could carry up to three reentry vehicles, and it became the first Minuteman III squadron in the wing.[5][6][7]

LGM-118 Peacekeeper personnel training and facility preparation began in June 1985. The Peacekeeper, which could carry ten independently targeted reetry vehicles,[6] was fully operational with the squadron on 30 December 1986. The 400th was the only USAF missile squadron to put the Peacekeeper on alert and in 1999 was awarded the General Samuel C. Phillips Award as the best missile squadron in Air Force Space Command.[8] In 2001 in compliance with the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, these missiles were limited to a single reentry vehicle[6] The Peacekeeper system continued in operation until 19 September 2005, when it was retired and the 400th Squadron inactivated at the start of the following month.[5][9]

Lineage[edit]

  • Constituted as the 10th Reconnaissance Squadron (Heavy) on 28 January 1942
Activated on 15 April 1942
Redesignated 400th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 22 April 1942
Redesignated 400th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy on 6 March 1944
Inactivated on 27 January 1946[10]
Redesignated 400th Strategic Missile Squadron (ICBM-Minuteman) and activated on 10 December 1963 (not organized)
Organized on 1 July 1964[11]
Redesignated 400th Missile Squadron on 1 September 1991
Inactivated 4 October 2005[12]

Assignments[edit]

Stations[edit]

Aircraft and Missiles[edit]

  • Consolidated B-24 Liberator, 1942–1945[10]
  • LGM-30B Minuteman I, 1964–1974[11]
  • LGM-30G Minuteman III, 1973–1986[5]
  • LGM-118A Peacekeeper, 1986–2005[9]

Awards and campaigns[edit]

Award streamer Award Dates Notes
Streamer PUC Army.PNG Distinguished Unit Citation November 1942-23 January 1943 Papua, 400th Bombardment Squadron[4]
Streamer PUC Army.PNG Distinguished Unit Citation 13 and 15 September 1943 New Guinea, 400th Bombardment Squadron[4]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 July 1968 – 30 June 1969 400th Strategic Missile Squadron[14]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 July 1973 – 30 June 1975[15] 400th Strategic Missile Squadron
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 July 1982 – 30 June 1984 400th Strategic Missile Squadron[16]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 July 1986 – 30 June 1988 400th Strategic Missile Squadron[16]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 July 1988 – 30 June 1989 400th Strategic Missile Squadron[16]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 August 1991 – 31 July 1993 400th Strategic Missile Squadron (later 400th Missile Squadron)[16]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 October 1994 – 30 September 1995 400th Missile Squadron[16]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 January 2001 – 31 December 2001 400th Missile Squadron[16]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 October 2004 – 30 September 2005 400th Missile Squadron[16]
Presidential Unit Citation (Philippines) Streamer.png Philippine Republic Presidential Unit Citation 17 October 1944 – 4 July 1945 400th Bombardment Squadron[4]

. Philippine Presidential Unit Citation (WWII).

Campaign Streamer Campaign Dates Notes
Streamer APC.PNG Guadalcanal November 1942-21 February 1943 400th Bombardment Squadron[4]
Streamer APC.PNG Papua November-23 January 1943 400th Bombardment Squadron[4]
Streamer APC.PNG Northern Solomons 23 February 1943 – 21 November 1944 400th Bombardment Squadron[4]
Streamer APC.PNG Bismarck Archipelago 15 December 1943 – 27 November 1944 400th Bombardment Squadron[4]
Streamer APC.PNG New Guinea 24 January 1943 – 31 December 1944 400th Bombardment Squadron[4]
Streamer APC.PNG Leyte 17 October 1944 – 1 July 1945 400th Bombardment Squadron[4]
Streamer APC.PNG Luzon 15 December 1944 – 4 July 1945 400th Bombardment Squadron[4]
Streamer APC.PNG Southern Philippines 27 February 1945 – 4 July 1945 400th Bombardment Squadron[4]
Streamer APC.PNG China Defensive November 1942-4 May 1945 400th Bombardment Squadron[4]
Streamer APC.PNG China Offensive 5 May 1945 – 2 September 1945 400th Bombardment Squadron[4]
Streamer APC.PNG Air Offensive, Japan November 1942-2 September 1945 400th Bombardment Squadron[4]
Streamer APC.PNG Western Pacific 17 April 1944 – 2 September 1945 400th Bombardment Squadron[4]

See also[edit]

Coordinates: 41°07′59″N 104°52′01″W / 41.13306°N 104.86694°W / 41.13306; -104.86694 (Francis E. Warren AFB)

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The 90th Bombardment Group "Jolly Rogers" emblem was also used as a squadron patch and as a tail marking on B-24s with each squadron having its own color in the background. Watkins, pp. 86-87

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Endicott (unpaginated)
  2. ^ Watkins, pp. 86-87
  3. ^ a b c d Robertson, Patsy (May 27, 2010). "Factsheet 90 Operations Group (AFSPC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved May 11, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 490
  5. ^ a b c Robertson, Patsy (April 6, 2012). "Factsheet 90 Missile Wing (AFGSC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved May 8, 2016. 
  6. ^ a b c "90 MW Fact Sheet". 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs. August 19, 2010. Retrieved May 8, 2016. 
  7. ^ 90th Missile Wing Heritage Pamphlet, p. 4
  8. ^ 90th Missile Wing Heritage Pamphlet, p. 21
  9. ^ a b Edwards, 2 Lt Joshua S. (September 20, 2005). "Peacekeeper missile mission ends during ceremony". 90th Space Wing Public Affairs. Archived from the original on February 10, 2012. Retrieved May 8, 2016. 
  10. ^ a b c d Lineage, including assignments, stations and aircraft through World War II in Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 290
  11. ^ a b 90th Missile Wing Heritage Pamphlet, p. 16
  12. ^ 90th Missile Wing Heritage Pamphlet, p. 23
  13. ^ a b 90th Missile Wing Heritage Pamphlet, pp. 16, 23
  14. ^ AF Pamphlet 900-2 (1971), p. 364
  15. ^ AF Pamphlet 900-2 Vol. II, p. 69
  16. ^ a b c d e f g "Air Force Personnel Services: Unit Awards". Air Force Personnel Center. Retrieved June 13, 2016.  (search)

Bibliography[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

External links[edit]