Strategic Air Command
 SAC Missiles
  Home Page
     Missile Units
  Aircraft Launched



History of SAC Missiles
    In 1958, the 1st Missile Division assigned to SAC.  Air Force's strategic missiles were developed to the point where they could start the transition from the research and development to the operational stage.  As part of this transition, the 1st Missile Division, located at Cooke Air Force Base (renamed Vandenberg) in October) was transferred from Air Research and Development Command to SAC.  The transfer was effect on January 1 and Major General David Wade assumed command of the division the following day.  Included in the transfer was the 704 Strategic Missile Wing, which had been activated as USAF first missile wing on July 1, 1957.  The 704th had  a dual mission of training missile crews for other units and attaining an operation capability with the Atlas ICBM.  It had one Atlas D squadron, the 576th Strategic Missile Squadron assigned.  Activated on 1 April, the 576th had a dual responsibility of maintaining an Atlas D alert force and providing training for other SAC Atlas units.
   SAC MIKE established.  On January 1, the Office of Assistant CINCSAC SAC MIKE was organized at Inglewood, California.  Designed to serve as an extension of Headquarters AC, this office was responsible for working closely with the Air Force Ballistic Missile Division and providing SAC with the latest techniques and information on ballistic missiles and related programs.
     Atlas and Titan Wings activated.  the first Atlas wing was activated France E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming on 1 February under the designation of the 4320th Strategic Missile Wing. In an activation and activation transaction on 23 February, the designation was changed to 706th Strategic Missile Wing.  (ICBM-Atlas) Later in the year, two Atlas D squadrons were activated and assigned to the 706th.  On 25 September, the first Titan unit, the 703 Strategic Missile wing (ICBM-Titan) was activated at Lowry Air Force Colorado.  Both missile wings were assigned to the 1st Missile Division.
     Thor program.  Under an early 1958 agreement, the United states and the United Kingdom shared responsibility for the Thor missile program.  the United Kingdom agreed to build four base and to man four Thor squadrons while the United States agreed to furnish the missiles and provide training for the RAF crews.  Effective 20 February the 705 Strategic Missile Wing (IRBM-Thor) was activated at Lakenheath RAF Station and assigned to the 7th Air Division.  Shortly thereafter the 705th moved to South Ruislip where it merged with Headquarters 7th Air Divison.  It was responsible for monitoring the Thor program and for providing technical assistance to the four RAF squadrons.  Thor training for RAF crews began at Vandenberg in August. This training was provided by the 392 Missile Training Squadron which was activated at Vandenberg on 15 September, 1957.
     First Snark lanced.  On 27 June, at Patrick Air Force, Florida, the 556th Strategic Missile Squadron launched its first Snark missile.   
     First Missile launched from Vandenberg.  On December 6, the first missile, a Thor, was launched from Vandenberg by a crew of the 1st Missile Division backed up by contractor personal. This was official credited as an Air Force Research and Development Command launch.
      Jupiter Program.  SAC was also responsible for training Italian and Turkish crews in the operation of the US Army developed Jupiter missile, another intermediate range ballistic missile. In 1958, three SAC Jupiter squadrons were activated at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama to handle this responsibility.
     Rascal cancelled.  On November 29, Headquarters USAF cancelled the Rascal air-to-surface missile which was designed to be carried aboard modified B-47s (designated DB-47) the entire SAC program was to have been concentrated in one squadron of the 321st Bomb Wing McCoy Air Force Base Florida.  The Rascal was cancelled in deference to the Hound Dog and Quail, which were showing more promise of being effective weapons systems.
      Goose Cancelled.  On Dec. 12, the Goose missile development program was terminated.  Designed to simulated a B-52 or a B-47 on radar screens, the Goose was a turbojet subsonic decoy missile that was programmed to be launched from the United States.  It was dropped in favor of the Snark, which carried a nuclear weapon.