United States Air Force
Intercontinental ballistic missile
Fairchild AFB, Washington
The 567th Strategic Missile Squadron (567 SMS) is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the 92d Strategic Aerospace Wing, stationed at Fairchild AFB, Washington
- World War II
- Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Squadron
- Aircraft and missiles
On 1 April 1960, the 567th Strategic Missile Squadron (ICBM-Atlas) went on alert status as a Strategic Air Command (SAC) Intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) squadron, being equipped with the SM-65E Atlas ICBM, with a mission of nuclear deterrence.
The squadron was inactivated as part of the phaseout of the Atlas ICBM on 25 June 1965.
World War II
Activated as a B-24 Liberator heavy bombardment squadron in December 1942; assigned to II Bomber Command for training. Primarily trained in Texas and Colorado. Received deployment orders for the European Theater of Operations (ETO) in April 1943.
Deployed to England in May 1943, being assigned to the VIII Bomber Command and stationed at RAF Hethel. Upon its arrival at Hethel, almost was sent to Libya, where it began operations on July 9, 1943. The detachment flew missions to Crete, Sicily, Italy, Austria, and Romania. Received a Distinguished Unit Citation for the detachment's participation in the famed low-level attack against oil refineries at Ploesti on August 1, 1943. Returned to England in August and the squadron flew several missions against airfields in France and the Netherlands.
The squadron deployed again temporarily to Tunisia during September and October 1943 with the group supporting Allied operations at Salerno and hit targets in Corsica, Italy, and Austria.
Resumed operations from RAF Hethel in October 1943 the squadron engaged in very long range strategic bombardment operations over Occupied Europe and Nazi Germany. Targets included industrial facilities; oil production facilities and refineries, rail and other transportation centers, enemy military airfields and garrisons. The squadron participated in the intensive air campaign against the German aircraft industry during Big Week, February 20–25, 1944.
Continued attacks on enemy targets until the German Capitulation in May 1944; returning to the United States later that month and reforming at Charleston Army Airfield, South Carolina. Unit personnel were demobilized throughout the summer of 1945. Inactivated on 13 September 1945.
Effective 15 September 1947, the squadron was activated at Coffeyville Municipal Airport, Kansas. Having been allotted to the organized reserves, with assignment to Second Air Force, Air Defense Command, it was redesigned as a very heavy bombardment unit on 25 August. In July 1948, the squadron was assigned to the Tenth Air Force, which in December, became a part of the Continental Air Command. The squadron was inactivated on 27 June 1949 due to budget restrictions.
Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Squadron
Reactivated in 1959 as a Strategic Air Command SM-65E Atlas ICBM launch squadron, stationed at Fairchild AFB, Washington and assigned initially to HQ SAC while construction was completed on missile silos and other facilities. Activation of the 567th SMS on April 1, 1960, marked the first time SAC activated an E series Atlas unit. On December 3, 1960, the first Atlas E missile arrived at the 567th SMS. Construction continued and SAC accepted the first Series E Atlas complex on July 29, 1961. Operational readiness training, which previously had been conducted only at Vandenberg AFB, California, began at Fairchild during the following month. On September 28, 1961, Headquarters SAC declared the squadron operational and during the following month, the 567th placed the first Atlas E missile on alert status. The bulk of the Fairchild force was on alert status in November.
The squadron was assigned nine missiles, based in a 1 x 9 configuration: nine independent launch sites comprised a missile squadron. The major enhancement in the Atlas E was the new all-inertial system that obviated the need for ground control facilities. Since the missiles were no longer tied to a central guidance control facility, the launchers could be dispersed widely.
The missiles were housed in a "coffin launcher" style complexes. The missile was kept in a horizontal position. In order to launch, a 400-ton overhead door was rolled back after which the "bird" was raised to a vertical position. Once upright, the rocket was fueled with RP-1 and Liquid Oxygen after which it would then be made ready for launch. The Atlas E was equipped with a Mark IV re-entry vehicle developed by General Electric and carried a type W-38 warhead which had a yield of approximately 4 megatons of TNT. It had a range of approximately 6,000 miles. (see below for site details).
Missiles were retired and removed beginning in January 1965 in favor of the more advanced LGM-25C Titan II; last missile was taken off-line on February 17; squadron was inactivated on 25 June. Missile sites were later sold off to private ownership after demilitarization.