MOB 6 - Molesworth, England
Gryphon (GLCM) Main Operating Base 6 (MOB 6): RAF Molesworth, England, UK. The 303d Tactical Missile Wing (TMW) was the sixth and final GLCM wing to be activated, that event occurring on 12 December 1986. It was originally established during the Korean War as the 303d Bombardment Wing, Medium, and activated on 4 September 1951. The 303 BW was inactivated in 1964. It got its second life in 1986 after being redesignated as the 303 TMW on 19 August 1986. The wing’s tactical unit was the 87 TMS, armed with 64 BGM-109G cruise missiles. The history of RAF Molesworth dates back to 1917. During World War II it had the distinction in of launching the first Eighth Air Force bombers to fly a mission over Nazi-occupied territory. The base’s runway and flight line facilities were closed in 1973 and demolished, but the Ministry of Defence constructed new facilities in the early 1980s to support planned GLCM operations. As Molesworth no longer had a runway, the wing’s missiles were flown into RAF Alconbury and then transferred by road to Molesworth. RAF Molesworth was the second of two British bases where Gryphon missiles were deployed and, like RAF Greenham Common, it was often a focus for anti-nuclear protests. The INF Treaty, signed in 1987, mandated the retirement of all land-based cruise missiles. The last missile was removed from RAF Molesworth in October 1988 and the 303 TMW was inactivated at the end of January 1989. The base is now a non-flying facility under the control of the USAF, one of two RAF stations in Cambridgeshire currently used by USAFE. The infrastructure from the GAMA (GLCM Alert and Maintenance Area) is partially intact, and is a unique reminder of the Cold War.