550th Guided Missiles Wing

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550th Guided Missiles Wing
B-61 Matador surface-to-surface cruise missile
Active 1949–1950
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force

The 550th Guided Missiles Wing is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the Air Proving Ground, stationed at Patrick AFB, Florida. It was inactivated on 30 December 1950.


Established as an expansion of the 1st Experimental Guided Missiles Group (1st EGMG), the 550th Guided Missiles Wing was a short-lived unit of the Air Proving Ground command at Eglin AFB, Florida. Its mission was the supervision and evaluation of guided missile service tests as opposed to pure experimentation of its predecessor unit.[1]

As part of the 550th GMW, the 1st Experimental Guided Missiles Squadron was inactivated; its personnel and equipment reorganized as follows:[1]

  • 1st Guided Missiles Squadron (GMS). Assigned the air-to-surface missiles and guided bomb testing program
  • 2d Guided Missiles Squadron (GMS). Operated QB/DB-17 Flying Fortress drone/director aircraft drones as flying targets for the early Nike Ajax surface-to-air missile or for the Hughes Falcon air-to-air missile. Often, the QB-17L would be the subject of intentional near misses to preserve the drone for as many missions as possible. It also supplied B-17 drones to support the Atomic Energy Commission Nuclear Testing program.

The wing also consisted of a Headquarters squadron and a maintenance and supply squadron.

Like its predecessor, the 550th Guided Missiles Wing had detachments in tenant status at Holloman Air Force Base and the Navy's Guided Missile Test Center at Point Mugu. While the Holloman detachment continued to assist the Glenn L. Martin Company with developmental testing of the MX-771 Matador (i.e., it witnessed test firings and reported on the results), the Point Mugu detachment completed its Navy Convair Lark missile training and moved to the Joint Long Range Proving Ground in early January 1950 [1]

On 1 July 1950, the 3d Guided Missiles Squadron (GMS) was activated at the Long Range Proving Ground (later Patrick) Air Force Base, on the Atlantic Coast of Florida. Its mission was to support the Aerodynamic missiles being developed by the Long Range Proving Ground Division. The squadron launched three US Navy LARK surface-to-air missiles at Cape Canaveral in October and November 1950.[1]

The 550th Guided Missiles Wing also continued its predecessor's support of the Atomic Energy Commission atomic bomb testing program. However, during the Wing's brief existence, no tests were scheduled.[2]


By January 1950, the Air Proving Ground decided the QB/DB-17 drone mission needed to be separated from the Missile Testing mission. It recommended the establishment of a separate and permanent drone squadron. Drone support personnel from the 2d Guided Missiles Squadron were subsequently transferred to a new unit, the 3201st Air Base Support Squadron, which was placed under the 3201st Air Base Group at Eglin.[1] While the 3201st Air Base Support Squadron remained under the 550th for administrative purposes, its operations were essentially divorced from the 550th's missile activities when the 3200th moved to Auxiliary Field #3. In June 1951, the 3201st ABSS was upgraded to a group level, the 3200th Drone Group.[2][3]

By late 1950, Air Proving Ground Command decided to reorganize the missile testing program. The 550th Guided Missiles Wing was inactivated effective 29 December 1950. In its place, the Wing was to be moved to Patrick AFB, which it did in early December. At Patrick, the resources of the 550th GMW were assumed by the new 4800th Guided Missile Wing, which consolidated all Air Proving Ground activities at the base.[1]

The 1st GMS terminated its gliding bomb mission and was inactivated.[1]

The 2nd Guided Missiles Squadron was inactivated at Holloman AFB, its designation moved to Patrick and on 10 April 1951 became the 4802d Guided Missiles Squadron. The personnel and equipment at Holloman Air Force Base became a detachment of the 3201st Air Base Support Squadron. It later was revived as the 3225th Drone Squadron at Holloman on 1 January 1953[1][2][3]

The 3d GMS already at Patrick AFB was inactivated and became the 4803d Guided Missiles Squadron.[1]


  • Established as 550th Guided Missiles Wing on 20 July 1949
Inactivated on: 29 December 1950[1]



  • 3200th Proof Test Group, 26 April-11 December 1950
  • 1st Guided Missiles Squadron, 20 July 1949 – 29 December 1950
  • 2d Guided Missiles Squadron, 20 July 1949 – 29 December 1950
  • 3d Guided Missiles Squadron, Interceptor, 1 July 1950 – 30 December 1950
  • 550th Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron (drawn from the 1st EGMG's Headquarters), 20 July 1949 – 29 December 1950
  • 550th Maintenance Squadron, Guided Missiles (re-designated from 1st Experimental Air Service Squadron), 20 July 1949 – 29 December 1950
  • 3200th (later 3205th) Drone Squadron, 1 July-1 December 1950[1]




DB-17 Flying Fortress: Drone director aircraft (1st GMS)
MB-17 Flying Fortress: Airborne missile/gliding bomb launcher (1st GMS)
QB-17 Flying Fortress: Unmanned drone aircraft used as aerial weapons targets (2d GMS)[1][2]

See also[edit]


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

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n George Mindling; Robert Bolton (2008-10-01). U.S. Air Force Tactical Missiles. ISBN 978-0-557-00029-6. 
  2. ^ a b c d Scott A. Thompson (2011-06-01). Final Cut: The Post-War B-17 Flying Fortress and Survivors. ISBN 978-1-57510-156-9. 
  3. ^ a b Robert Mueller (1989). Air Force Bases: Active Air Force Bases within the United States of America on 17 September 1982. U.S. Government Printing Office. ISBN 978-0-912799-53-7. 

External links[edit]