571st Strategic Missile Squadron
|571st Strategic Missile Squadron|
LGM-25C Titan II Test Launch at Vandenburg AFB, California
|Branch||United States Air Force|
|Role||Intercontinental ballistic missile|
|Garrison/HQ||Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona|
World War II (EAME Theater)
Distinguished Unit Citation (2x)
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
|571st Strategic Missile Squadron emblem|
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.
World War II
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
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.
- 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
- 390th Bombardment Group, 26 January 1943 – 28 August 1945
- Strategic Air Command, 28 November 1961
- 390th Strategic Missile Wing, 1 May 1962 – 31 July 1984
- Geiger Field, Washington, 26 January 1943
- Great Falls Army Air Base, Montana, 6 June-4 July 1943
- RAF Framlingham (AAF-153), England, 26 July 1943 – 6 August 1945
- Sioux Falls Army Air Field, South Dakota, 14–28 August 1945
- Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, 1 May 1962 – 31 July 1984
Aircraft and missiles
- Operated nine missile sites:
- 571-1 (18 Jul 1963 – 2 Aug 1983), 6.4 mi E of Benson, AZ
- 571-2 (17 Sep 1963 – 21 Nov 1983), 4.7 mi W of Benson, AZ
- 571-3 (10 Oct 1963 – 4 Oct 1983), 4.6 mi ESE of Pantano, AZ
- 571-4 (24 Oct 1963 – 10 Aug 1983), 5.7 mi WSW of Pantano, AZ
- 571-5 (24 Jul 1963 – 3 Mar 1983), 8.4 mi SE of Continental, AZ
- 571-6 (2 Jul 1963 – 29 Sep 1982), 5.4 mi S of Amado, AZ
- 571-7 (15 Jul 1963 – 12 Nov 1982), 3.8 mi NNW of Continental, AZ
- 571-8 (15 Apr 1963 – 8 Feb 1984), 10.3 mi W of Keystone Peak, AZ
- 571-9 (6 Apr 1963 – 4 Jan 1984), 5.6 mi WSW of Three Points, AZ
- Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1983) . Air Force Combat Units of World War II (PDF) (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-02-1. LCCN 61060979.
- Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1982) . Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II (PDF) (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-405-12194-6. LCCN 70605402. OCLC 72556.