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Titan II

    Little Rock AFB
    308th Strategic Missile Wing, Little Rock AFB, AR. The 308 SMW was the third and final Titan II missile wing. Like the others, it had two Strategic Missile Squadrons (the 373d and 374th). The wing became fully operational with eighteen sites in December 1963. The Titan II was mighty powerful, but it was also mighty dangerous. Sadly, today the Arkansas-based Titan II missile wing is remembered mostly for the tragedies that occurred there. On 9 August 1965 at Launch Complex 373-4, 53 of the 55 civilian contractors who were working in the silo near Searcy were killed in a flash fire caused by the flame of a welding torch touching a hydraulic line. Years later, Launch Complex 374-7, near Damascus, suffered two accidents. The first was an oxidizer leak on 27 January 1978 that sent several local citizens to the hospital, though there were no fatalities. The second, on 19 September 1980 destroyed the complex, killed one, critically injured another, and sent 11 others to the hospital. In all, nearly two dozen airmen were injured by the blast that shattered windows in farm houses miles away. The 740-ton silo closure door was blown several hundred feet upward and landed about 600 feet from the silo. Perhaps more than any other factor, this event prompted the 1981 decision to retire the Titan II fleet of missiles. The last Titan II missile in the USAF was taken off alert on 5 May 1987 at site 373-8, and the 308 SMW was the last of the three Titan II wings to close, with inactivation occurring on 18 August 1987. There is a memorial marker for Senior Airman David Livingston, and the former Launch Complex 374-7 was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on 19 February 2000.
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