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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Florennes, Belgium

In 1979, NATO ministers decided to deploy the USAF Gryphon BGM-109G Ground Launched Cruise Missile (GLCM) and the US Army's Pershing II missiles to counter the growing Soviet SS-20 intermediate range ballistic missile threat. American GLCMs were deployed in U.S. Air Force units on six missile operating bases in five Western European nations: the United Kingdom, Italy, Belgium, West Germany, and the Netherlands.

The 485th Tactical Missile Wing was responsible for the GLCM at Florennes Air Base.

In Belgium, the status of the American GLCM base at Florennes was similar to that of Molesworth at the time of the signing of the INF Treaty in December 1987. In this case, 20 cruise missiles and 12 launchers had been deployed to Florennes; deployment had stopped at that point.

In the summer of 1988, the INF site had been inspected by a Soviet team during baseline. Then the Florennes' missiles and launchers were withdrawn from the force, prepared for shipment, and returned to the United States for elimination. The last of the Florennes-based cruise missiles left Belgium on December 13, 1988. Following the required base closure activities, the United States declared that the INF site at Florennes had been closed out.

In 1989 the 36th Fighter Wing assumed responsibilities for supporting and planning all Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty compliance inspections by Soviet inspection teams at Florennes Air Base, Belgium. On March 10, 1989 the Soviet team performed the closeout inspection. This was the final closing of a US site in the first treaty year. Of the 31 sites declared in the MOU, the United States eliminated seven sites in that first year.

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