Malmstrom AFB – NEW

Malmstrom AFB
The 341st Strategic Missile Wing got the honor of receiving the first operational Minuteman missiles, and not a moment too soon because the first handful of these was rushed to alert status during the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962. The wing’s three original tactical squadrons were the 10th, 12th, and 490th Strategic Missile Squadrons. In 1966, a fourth tactical squadron was added, the 564 SMS, equipped with new Minuteman II “Deuce” missiles. Because of its different configuration, the 564th was often referred to as the “Odd Squad.” With four missile squadrons rather than the typical three, the 341 SMW had one of the largest missile complexes in SAC, covering more than 23,000 square miles of Montana. The 490 SMS at Malmstrom has the distinction of being the only squadron, of the 20 that once existed, to have fielded all four types of the Minuteman missile (IA, IB, II, and III). That’s because while the Air Force was still in the process of initially filling the 490th silos with Minuteman IA missiles, the Minuteman IB became available, so the last eight missiles installed in the 490th were Minuteman IBs. Later, all the Minuteman I missiles were replaced with Minuteman IIs, and after Grand Forks AFB closed, some of its Minuteman III missiles replaced all the Minuteman IIs that had been in the 490th. In 1991, the wing and its four missile squadrons lost the word “Strategic” in their designations. In 1997, the 341st Missile Wing became the 341st Space Wing, although the tactical squadrons got to keep their “Missile” names. In 2008, the “Missile Wing” designation was restored, but that same year the “Odd Squad” was inactivated, leaving the 341st with just three missile units. In this album, the wing patches are displayed first, followed by the missile squadrons, including their unofficial flight patches and other morale patches. Following the tactical units are the wing's morale patches, then patches of the Operations Group, including the OSS. After those are maintenance, then security, and finally other support units, concluding with comm and medical patches. At the very end are base morale patches. Generally, the patches are presented in numerical-alphabetical order, except for the comm and medical patches, which are in chronological order.
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