66th Missile Squadron
|66th Missile Squadron|
LGM-30F Minuteman II test launch at Vandenburg AFB, California
|Active||1940-1946; 1947-1948; 1950-1960; 1962-1993|
|Branch||United States Air Force|
|Role||Intercontinental ballistic missile|
|Garrison/HQ||Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota|
|Motto||THE PEACE KEEPER|
World War II
Distinguished Unit Citation (2x)
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award (6x)
|66th Missile Squadron emblem|
The 66 MS was equipped with the LGM-30F Minuteman II Intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), with a mission of nuclear deterrence. With the end of the Cold War, the 66th was inactivated on 1 September 1993.
World War II
Established in early 1941 as a B-24 Liberator heavy bombardment squadron; trained under Third Air Force in the southeastern United States. After the Pearl Harbor Attack, engaged in Antisubmarine patrols over the Gulf of Mexico.
Deployed to the European Theater of Operations (ETO), being assigned to VIII Bomber Command in England during the summer of 1942. One of the first B-24 Liberator units assigned to the ETO. Engaged in very long range strategic bombardment missions over Occupied Europe and Nazi Germany, attacking strategic targets in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. Among the targets attacked were submarine installations, industrial establishments, airfields, harbors, shipyards, and other objectives.
Detachment deployed to Twelfth Air Force in Algeria in June 1943 to help facilitate the Allied invasion of Sicily by bombing airfields and marshalling yards in Italy. The detachment also participated in the famous low-level raid on the Ploesti oil fields in Romania on 1 August 1943. Most of the detachment returned to England at the end of August, however some crews and aircraft remained in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO) and flew very long range attacks over Italy, Romania, Austria, and Sicily and supported Allied ground forces in Sicily as well as attacking Axis forces in Italy supporting the Salerno Invasion of Italy. All aircraft and personnel returned to England in October.
Returned to VIII Bomber Command operations, and supported the Allied Invasion of France in June 1944 by attacking strong points in the beachhead area and transportation targets behind the front lines. The group aided the Caen offensive and the Saint-Lô breakthrough in July. Dropped food, ammunition, and other supplies to troops engaged in the airborne attack on the Netherlands in September. Attacked enemy targets during the Battle of the Bulge, December 1944-January 1945, by striking bridges, tunnels, choke points, rail and road junctions, and communications in the battle area. The squadron attacked airfields and transportation in support of the Western Allied Invasion of Germany, and flew a resupply mission during the airborne assault across the Rhine in March 1945. Combat operations concluded with the German Capitulation in May 1945.
Returned to the United States in June 1945, being reassigned to Second Air Force and redesignated as a B-29 Superfortress Very Heavy bombardment squadron. Trained with B-29s and planned to deploy to the Western Pacific, however the Japanese Capitulation in August canceled deployment plans. Assigned to Kansas as part of Continental Air Forces (later Strategic Air Command) but inactivated in July 1946 as part of the general demobilization of the AAF.
Strategic Air Command
Reactivated in 1947 under SAC as a paper unit; not manned or equipped and inactivated in 1949 due to budget constraints.
Reactivated in 1950 and used as an Operational Training Unit for B-29 aircrews and maintenance personnel being deployed to for Far East Air Forces during the Korean War. Replaced the propeller-driven B-29s with new B-47E Stratojet swept-wing medium bombers in 1953, capable of flying at high subsonic speeds and primarily designed for penetrating the airspace of the Soviet Union. In the late 1950s, the B-47 was considered to be reaching obsolescence, and was being phased out of SAC's strategic arsenal. Began sending aircraft to other B-47 wings as replacements in late 1959, being phased down for inactivation in 1960.
Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Squadron
Reactivated in 1962 as a SAC ICBM missile squadron. Trained with the 850th SMS in HGM-25A Titan I operations in 1962, being made operational with LGM-30B Minuteman I missiles in 1963. Upgraded to the LGM-30F Minuteman II in 1972. Remained on Cold War nuclear alert until in response to President Bush's directive to stand down the Minuteman II. Dissipated launch codes and pin safety control switches at 15 launch control facilities. Deactivation of the entire missile complex ended in the summer of 1993; squadron inactivated on 1 September.
- Constituted 66th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 20 Nov 1940
- Activated on 15 Jan 1941
- Re-designated 66th Bombardment Squadron (Very Heavy) on 5 Aug 1945
- Inactivated on 12 Jul 1946
- Activated on 1 Jul 1947
- Inactivated on 6 Sep 1948
- Re-designated 66th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) on 20 Dec 1950
- Activated on 2 Jan 1951
- Discontinued on 15 Jun 1960
- Re-designated 66th Strategic Missile Squadron on 19 Mar 1962
- Organized on 1 Sep 1962
- Re-designated 66th Missile Squadron on 1 Sep 1991
- Inactivated on 1 Sep 1993.
- 44th Bombardment Group, 15 Jan 1941 – 12 Jul 1946; 1 Jul 1947-6 Sep 1948; 2 Jan 1951
- 44th Bombardment Wing, 16 Jun 1952
- Department of the Air Force, 15 Jun 1960
- Strategic Air Command, 19 Mar 1962
- 44th Strategic Missile Wing, 1 Sep 1962
- 44th Operations Group, 1 Sep 1991 – 1 Sep 1993
Aircraft and missiles
- B-24 Liberator, 1941–1945
- TB-29 Superfortress, 1951; B-29 Superfortress, 1945–1946; 1947–1948; 1951–1952
- B-47 Stratojet, 1953–1960
- LGM-30B Minuteman I, 1963–1973
- LGM-30F Minuteman II, 1972–1993
- Missile Alert Facilities (A-E flights, each controlling 10 missiles) are located as follows:
- A-01 19.9 mi S of Howes, SD,
- B-01 7.5 mi NxNW of Wall SD,
- C-01 10.1 mi N of Philip SD,
- D-01 6.7 mi SxSW of Cottonwood SD,
- E-01 6.3 mi NxNE of Kadoka SD,
- Minuteman Missile National Historic Site - one of the 66th SMS' Launch Control Facilities and Launch Facilities left over from the Cold War.
- List of United States Air Force missile squadrons
- 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.
- Ellsworth AFB Minuteman Missile Site Coordinates