724th Strategic Missile Squadron
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|724th Strategic Missile Squadron|
3 HGM-25A Titan I missiles on alert at Site A, Watkins, Colorado, about 1962
|Branch||United States Air Force|
It was inactivated on 25 June 1965.
World War II
Activated as a B-24 Liberator heavy bombardment squadron in May 1943, it was assigned to II Bomber Command for training. It trained primarily in the US midwest. The squadron received deployment orders for the Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO) in November 1943.
It was deployed to southern Italy in January 1944 and entered combat in January 1944, being assigned to the Fifteenth Air Force. It took part in air echelon training in Algeria for several weeks before joining the remainder of the group in Italy. The unit was engaged in very long range strategic bombing missions to enemy military, industrial and transportation targets in Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Romania and Yugoslavia. It attacked such targets as oil refineries, marshalling yards, aircraft factories, bridges and airfields in Italy, France, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania and Greece.
The squadron also flew support and interdictory missions. It helped to prepare the way for and participated in the invasion of southern France in August 1944. It transported supplies to troops in Italy during September 1944 and supported the final advances of Allied armies in northern Italy in April 1945.
Strategic Air Command
It was reactivated in 1961 as a Titan I ICBM launch squadron, activated by redesignation of the 848th Strategic Missile Squadron. The squadron was deployed in a 3x3 configuration, which meant a total of nine missiles were divided into three bases. Each base had three ICBMs ready to launch at any given time.
On 19 November 1964, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara announced the phase-out of the remaining first-generation SM-65 Atlas and Titan I missiles by the end of June 1965. Consequently, the Titan Is of the 724th SMS were removed from alert status on 17 February 1965. The last missile was shipped out on 15 April. The Air Force subsequently inactivated the squadron on 25 June.
Missile sites were later sold off to private ownership after demilitarization. Today the remains of the sites are still visible in aerial imagery, in various states of use or abandonment.
- Constituted as the 724th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 6 April 1943
- Activated on 1 May 1943
- Inactivated on 26 September 1945
- Redesignated the 724th Strategic Missile SquadronÄ and activated on 26 April 1961
- Organized on 1 July 1961, assuming personnel and equipment of 848th Strategic Missile Squadron
- Inactivated on 25 June 1965
- 451st Bombardment Group, 1 May 1943 – 26 September 1945
- Strategic Air Command, 26 April 1961
- 451st Strategic Missile Wing, 1 July 1961 – 25 June 1965
Aircraft and missiles
- B-24 Liberator 1943–1945
- HGM-25A Titan I ICBM 1961–1965
- Operated three missile sites (1 February 1960 – 25 June 1965)
- 724-A, 8 miles SSW of Watkins, Colorado
- 724-B, 10 miles SSW of Watkins, Colorado
- 724-C, 8 miles SE of Watkins, Colorado
- 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.