Find a Security Clearance Job!

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

390th Missile Wing

On April 20, 1960, the Fifteenth Air Force announced selection of the base to support a Titan II missile wing. The January 1, 1962, activation of the 390th Strategic Missile Wing (SMW) marked the first standing up of a Titan II missile wing. Its two component squadrons were the Arizona Sites 570th and the 571st Strategic Missile Squadrons. Launcher locations for the 570th SMS were at Oracle, Three Points, Rillito (4 silos), and Oracle Junction (3 silos). The 571st SMS silos were located at Benson (2 silos), Mescal, Pantano, Continental (2 silos), Palo Alto, and Three Points. On March 31, 1963, site 570-2 (Three Points) was turned over to SAC for operational use. Additional silos joined the SAC inventory until November 30, when the 18th and final Titan II went on alert. The 390th SMW became the first operational Titan II missile wing in the Air Force.

With a requirement to keep all 18 missiles on alert status around the clock, maintenance personnel often put in 80- to go-hour work weeks. Eventually, response times to act on maintenance problems were loosened to allow crews to react during normal working hours. Maintenance did ease at the end of 1964, as the Davis-Monthan silos became the first to receive "Project Green Jug" treatment entailing the installation of dehumidifier equipment that eased corrosion problems within the silos. Additional modifications would be made to increase missile reliability, survivability, and reaction time. Also toward the end of 1964, the 390th SMW underwent the first operational readiness inspection for a Titan II unit.

On January 25, 1965, Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey toured complex 571-l. One month later, the 390th SMW performed the first operational launch test of one of its Titan 11s at Vandenberg AFB, California. Many more successful tests followed. Competing in SAC's first ever missile competition called "Project Curtain Raiser" in 1967, the 390th SMW garnered the first "best crew" trophy. Since 1967, the Wing earned many additional accolades at these competitions which became known as "Olympic Arena."

In October 1981, President Reagan announced that as part of the strategic modernization program, Titan II systems were to be retired by October 1, 1987. Deactivation began at Davis-Monthan on October 1, 1982. During the operation, titled "Rivet Cap," the missiles were removed and shipped to Norton AFB, California for refurbishment and storage. Explosive demolition began at the headworks of missile complex 570-7 on November 30, 1983. During the following May, the last Titan II at Davis-Monthan came off alert status. Two months later, SAC deactivated the 390th Strategic Missile Wing.

Join the mailing list