| 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
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.
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
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.
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.
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