71st Tactical Missile Squadron
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|71st Tactical Missile Squadron|
Emblem of the 71st Tactical Bombardment Squadron
|Branch||United States Air Force|
The 71st Tactical Missile Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the 485th Tactical Missile Wing, based at Florennes Air Base, Belgium. It was inactivated on 30 September 1989.
It was activated in early 1941 by the Army Air Corps as a medium bomber squadron during the pre-war mobilization by the United States. Performed coastal patrols as part of First Air Force with B-18 Bolos and early-model B-26 Marauders.
Deployed to Australia in early 1942 to reinforce Fifth Air Force after its withdrawal to Australia. Re-equipped with B-25 Mitchell medium bombers and flew missions from Northern Queensland over New Guinea. Moved to forward airfields in New Guinea and followed MacArthur's advance along the northern coast of the island into the Netherlands East Indies flying tactical bombardment missions against Japanese strong points and airfields. Moved to Luzon, Philippines, as part of the United States liberation forces in 1945, then moved to Okinawa during the summer in preparation for the Invasion of Japan. Moved to Japan and became part of the Occupation Forces. Inactivated in 1949 due to budget reductions.
Reactivated in France in 1953 as a NATO B-57 light bombardment squadron, equipped for night bombardment with nuclear weapons.
Moved to West Germany in 1958 as a TM-76B Mace tactical missile squadron when the unit was ordered out of France. Remained as a tactical missile unit until 1969 when the Mace missile was retired, the last Mace unit on active duty.
Reactivated in 1972 as an Undergraduate Pilot Training Squadron (UPT) at Laredo AFB. Moved to Moody in 1973 when Laredo closed. Inactivated in 1975 when Moody became a Tactical Fighter base after the Vietnam War ended.
Reactivated as a BGM-109G Gryphon Cruise Missile squadron in August 1984. Maintained 80 operational missiles in a combat-ready state. Inactivated in April 1989 as a result of the INF treaty and the elimination of the BGM-109G missile from service.
- Constituted 71st Bombardment Squadron (Medium) on 20 November 1940
- Activated on 15 January 1941
- Redesignated 71st Bombardment Squadron (Light) on 6 May 1946
- Inactivated on 1 April 1949
- Activated on 1 January 1953
- Redesignated: 71st Bombardment Squadron (Tactical) on 1 October 1955
- Redesignated: 71st Tactical Missile Squadron on 18 June 1958
- Inactivated on 30 April 1969
- Redesignated 71st Flying Training Squadron and activated 1 August 1972
- Inactivated 30 September 1973
- Reactivated 1 December 1973
- Inactivated 1 December 1975
- Redesignated 71st Tactical Missile Squadron and activated on 1 August 1984
- Inactivated 30 April 1989
- 38th Bombardment Group, 15 January 1941 – 1 April 1949; 1 January 1953
- 38th Bombardment Wing, 8 December 1957
- 585th Tactical Missile Group, 18 June 1958
- 38th Tactical Missile Wing, 25 September 1962 – 1 October 1965
- 36th Tactical Fighter Wing, 1 October 1965 – 30 April 1969
- 38th Flying Training Wing, 1 August 1972 – 30 September 1973; 1 December 1973 – 1 December 1975
- 485th Tactical Missile Wing, 1 August 1984 to 30 April 1989
Dispersed Matador/Mace missile locations
- Site VII "B" Pad - 3.5 miles (5.6 km) NW of Bitburg AB
- Underground concrete launch facility, closed 1969. largely overgrown abandoned condition.
- Site VIII "C" Pad - 4.5 miles (7.2 km) SSW of Bitburg AB
- Underground concrete launch facility. After closure the site was transferred to the Bundesheer and converted into a Patriot AD missile site; closed 2001 now abandoned and overgrown with vegetation.
Aircraft and missiles
- 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.
- Mindling, George; Bolton, Robert (2008). U.S. Air Force Tactical Missiles, 1949-1969: The Pioneers. Lulu.com. ISBN 978-0-557-00029-6.