Minot AFB

Minot AFB
This is the only Minuteman wing that has had two different numerical designations. It was activated as the 455th Strategic Missile Wing in 1962, but in 1968 that wing was inactivated and replaced by the 91 SMW (an action made to perpetuate the lineage and honors of a wing with what was deemed a more worthy history). Although the wing designation was changed, its three tactical units, the 740th, 741st, and 742d Strategic Missile Squadrons, remained the same, being transferred from the 455th to the 91st. The Minot missile wing was initially equipped with Minuteman IB missiles. The first one arrived on 6 September 1963, and was emplaced three days later. The 150th, and final, missile was emplaced on 26 February 1964, and by late March the wing became combat-ready. Of the six Minuteman bases that once existed, Minot had the reputation of being either one of the best, or one of the worst, depending on who you asked. Most of those who consider it undesirable have never been there, and many of those who’ve done a tour there say it was one of their most memorable. And that is saying something where the locals quip that the state tree is the telephone pole! So, the Rough Riders at the base will ask, “why not Minot?!” Minuteman II missiles were never fielded at Minot; it went directly from Minuteman I to Minuteman III beginning in April 1970, with the swap out completed by December of the following year. In 1991, the wing and its three missile squadrons lost the word “Strategic” in their designations, and in 1997 the 91 MW became the 91st Space Wing, but only until 2008 when it was switched back. Minot’s Rough Riders like to brag up the silver they have collected over the years, which includes the Blanchard Trophy (five times), the Lee R. Williams Memorial Missile Trophy (also five times) as the command's best missile wing, and the Thomas S. Moorman Trophy as Space Command's outstanding wing in 1996. The 5th Bomb Wing, equipped with B-52 bombers, has been based at Minot for many years and some of its units provide service and support for the missileers in the 91st. Additionally, from 1970 until 1992, the 4 ACCS at Ellsworth forward deployed two of its ALCC-equipped EC-135 aircraft to Minot to provide a back-up launch capability for the missiles in the three Northern Tier Minuteman wings, but the ALCC patches are in the ALCS album, not here. This album is arranged a bit differently than the others. The two 455th patches appear first, then the wing and ops group patches from the 91st era, followed by the missile squadrons, including their flight patches and unofficial morale patches. Following the tactical units are the patches of the maintenance, security, and other support units, concluding with munitions and medical patches, but unlike Wings I and II, the patches here are grouped functionally and chronologically rather than in numerical-alphabetical order. This is the largest of all the albums in the gallery and it seemed to work better organizing the patches this way. At the very end are the base morale patches.
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