Fifty Years of ICBMs

Air Force officials gathered Oct. 7 at F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo., to celebrate the 50th anniversary later this month of the nation’s operational ICBM fleet. It was on Oct. 31, 1959, that three long-range, liquid-fueled Atlas D missiles armed with nuclear warheads went on full combat alert at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., ushering in a new era of strategic nuclear deterrence for the nation. F.E. Warren is home to 20th Air Force, which oversees the current Minuteman III ICBM fleet, and the 90th Missile Wing, which oversees 150 of USAF’s 450 ICBMs. Among the events on Wednesday was a brainstorming session on the strategic deterrent mission. Air Force Secretary Michael Donley then gave a keynote address Thursday. A memorial service for deceased missileers is planned for Friday. (F.E. Warren report by SrA. Daryl Knee) (For more, read Day of the Atlas from the October issue of Air Force Magazine.)