564th Missile Squadron [564th MS]
The 564th Missile Squadron is one of four missile squadrons assigned to the 341st Missile wing at Malmstrom AFB, Mont. The northernmost of the wing's missile squadrons, the 564th consists of five missile alert facilities which control 10 missile launch facilities each. These sites are located 60-to-100 miles from the base.
The 564th was originally a B-24 squadron operating in the European theater, during World War II, as part of the 389th Bombardment group. In July 1943, the squadron was assigned to the Sicilian Campaign, operating from Bengazi, Libya. From there, the unit flew its first combat mission. On 1 August 1943, the 564th participated in the raids on the Ploesti oil field in Romania. By the end of August 1943, the squadron moved to Massicault, Tunisia to support the invasion of Italy. Early in 1944, the 564th was chosen for the Pathfinder duty against Germany's petroleum industry. Following very heavy duty both before and after D-Day, the squadron flew its last combat mission of the war in a raid on Salzburg, Austria on 25 April 1945. The unit departed its final European base in England on 30 May 1945 and disbanded at Charleston Army Airfield, South Carolina on 13 September 1945.
On 28 January 1947, the squadron was re-designated the 564th Bombardment Squadron (Very Heavy) and reactivated as a reserve unit flying the B-36 in the Air Defense Command and stationed at Fairfax Field in Kansas City, Kansas. Since the B-36 was being phased out of the active inventory, the 564th was again deactivated 27 June 1947. There was no 564th in the Air Force for more than a decade, but to fill the need for a unit designator with a rich, proud heritage, the unit was again reactivated as the 564th Strategic Missile Squadron on 1 July 1958. The squadron was assigned first to the 706th Strategic Missile Wing (SMW), then to the 389th SMW at F. E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming. With its Atlas C intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) weapon system, the 564th became the first missile unit constructed solely for operational purposes. As an operational squadron, the 564th had an important part to play in the resolution of the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962. However, the Atlas D missile at F. E. Warren were de-postured. The 564th was again inactivated on 1 September 1964.
On 14 December 1965, the 564th was reactivated for its fourth and current tour of duty and relocated to Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana. Equipped with the then-new Minutemen II missile, the unit was declared fully operational on 3 May 1967. In 1975, the squadron received the state-of the-art Minuteman III missile and by late in the following year had added the capability for remote targeting with the Command Data Buffer system, or CDB. The 564th has gone through another change, the conversion of the CDB system to the modern Rapid Execution and Combat Targeting (REACT) system.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|