571st Strategic Missile Squadron

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571st Strategic Missile Squadron
LGM-25C Titan II Test Launch.jpg
LGM-25C Titan II Test Launch at Vandenburg AFB, California
Active 1942–1945; 1962–1984
Country United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Type Squadron
Role Intercontinental ballistic missile
Garrison/HQ Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona
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
Insignia
571st Strategic Missile Squadron emblem 571st Strategic Missile Squadron - SAC - Emblem.png

The 571st Strategic Missile Squadron (571 SMS) is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the 390th Strategic Missile Wing, stationed at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona.

The 571 SMS was equipped with the LGM-25C Titan II Intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), with a mission of nuclear deterrence. The squadron was inactivated as part of the phaseout of the Titan II ICBM on 31 July 1984.

History[edit]

World War II[edit]

Activated in early 1943 as a B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bomb squadron, trained under Second Air Force. Deployed to England in the European Theater of Operations (ETO) during July 1943, assigned to VIII Bomber Command as a strategic bombardment squadron. Participated in the air offensive over Nazi Germany and Occupied Europe until German capitulation in May 1945. Personnel demobilized in England and returned to the United States; squadron reassigned to Second Air Force and was programmed to be re-equipped with B-29 Superfortresses for deployment to Pacific Theater. Japanese capitulation led to units inactivation in August 1945, being neither manned or equipped.

Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Squadron[edit]

Reactivated and redesignated as a Strategic Air Command LGM-25C Titan II ICBM Strategic Missile Squadron in 1961. Operated nine Titan II underground silos constructed beginning in 1960. The first missile silo (571–9) went on operational alert on 6 April 1963. The 9 missile silos controlled by the 571st Strategic Missile Squadron remained on alert for over 20 years during the Cold War.

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. Inactivation of the sites (571–7) began on 12 November 1982; the last (571–8) being inactivated on 8 February 1984. The squadron was inactivated on 31 July.

After removal from service, the silos had reusable equipment removed by Air Force personnel, and contractors retrieved salvageable metals before destroying the silos with explosives and filling them in. Access to the vacated control centers was blocked off.

Local aviation enthusiasts associated with the Pima Air Museum won Defense Department approval in 1984 to set aside one silo for permanent display. The silo at Green Valley (571–7) was retained by the Air Force and leased to local government for use as the "Titan Missile Museum." With a training Titan II missile in place, the silo is maintained by a dedicated organization of volunteers from nearby retirement communities. The site was placed on the National Register of Historic Places as the only surviving sample of a Titan II installation. In addition to the launch complex and missile, the museum obtained auxiliary support equipment for display.

Some of the properties were then sold; other sites are retained by the Bureau of Land Management.

Lineage[edit]

Emblem of the World War II 571st Bombardment Squadron
  • Constituted 571st Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 15 January 1943
Activated on 26 January 1943
Inactivated on 28 August 1945
  • Re-designated 571st Strategic Missile Squadron, and activated, on 28 November 1961

. Organized on 1 May 1962

Inactivated on 31 July 1984

Assignments[edit]

Stations[edit]

Aircraft and missiles[edit]

LGM-25C Titan II Sites
Operated nine missile sites:
571-1 (18 Jul 1963 – 2 Aug 1983), 6.4 mi E of Benson, AZ 31°58′56″N 110°11′08″W / 31.98222°N 110.18556°W / 31.98222; -110.18556 (571-1)
571-2 (17 Sep 1963 – 21 Nov 1983), 4.7 mi W of Benson, AZ 31°57′33″N 110°22′26″W / 31.95917°N 110.37389°W / 31.95917; -110.37389 (571-2)
571-3 (10 Oct 1963 – 4 Oct 1983), 4.6 mi ESE of Pantano, AZ 31°58′17″N 110°30′29″W / 31.97139°N 110.50806°W / 31.97139; -110.50806 (571-3)
571-4 (24 Oct 1963 – 10 Aug 1983), 5.7 mi WSW of Pantano, AZ 31°57′25″N 110°39′46″W / 31.95694°N 110.66278°W / 31.95694; -110.66278 (571-4)
571-5 (24 Jul 1963 – 3 Mar 1983), 8.4 mi SE of Continental, AZ 31°45′13″N 110°53′25″W / 31.75361°N 110.89028°W / 31.75361; -110.89028 (571-5)
571-6 (2 Jul 1963 – 29 Sep 1982), 5.4 mi S of Amado, AZ 31°38′39″N 111°04′14″W / 31.64417°N 111.07056°W / 31.64417; -111.07056 (571-6)
571-7 (15 Jul 1963 – 12 Nov 1982), 3.8 mi NNW of Continental, AZ 31°54′12″N 110°59′57″W / 31.90333°N 110.99917°W / 31.90333; -110.99917 (571-7)
571-8 (15 Apr 1963 – 8 Feb 1984), 10.3 mi W of Keystone Peak, AZ 31°53′17″N 111°23′21″W / 31.88806°N 111.38917°W / 31.88806; -111.38917 (571-8)
571-9 (6 Apr 1963 – 4 Jan 1984), 5.6 mi WSW of Three Points, AZ 32°00′16″N 111°21′16″W / 32.00444°N 111.35444°W / 32.00444; -111.35444 (571-9)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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