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381st Training Group

  (Redirected from 381st Strategic Missile Wing)

The United States Air Force 381st Training Group at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California provides training for the United States Air Force's space forces, intercontinental ballistic missile forces, and missile maintenance forces. This Air Education and Training Command (AETC) organization is a tenant unit located on an 80-acre (32 ha) site at Vandenberg. The group was activated in the fall of 1994, when it replaced a provisional group as missile training activities at Vandenberg were transferred to AETC.

381st Training Group
381st Training Group.PNG
381st Training Group Shield
Active1942–1945, 1962–1986, 1994–present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
RoleSpace operations training
Intercontinental ballistic missile training
Part ofAir Education and Training Command
Garrison/HQVandenberg AFB, California
Motto(s)Triumphant We Fly (1942–1945)[1] Peace, Power and Protection (1962–1986)[2]
EngagementsEuropean Theater of Operations
DecorationsDistinguished Unit Citation
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
Commanders
Current
commander
Col Merna Hsu
Notable
commanders
Joseph J. Nazzaro
Insignia
Patch with 381st Strategic Missile Wing emblem (approved 19 September 1962)[2]Wing 0381st Strategic Missile (SACPatch).gif
381st Bombardment Group emblem[1]381st-bombgroup-WWII.png

During World War II, the group's first predecessor, the 381st Bombardment Group was an Eighth Air Force Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress unit, which flew strategic bombing missions from RAF Ridgewell. The group had the highest losses of all groups on first Schweinfurt–Regensburg mission on 17 August 1943. It flew 296 combat missions, earning two Distinguished Unit Citations. It flew its last mission on 25 April 1945 before returning to the United States, where it was inactivated. The group was activated in the reserve in 1947, but was not fully manned or equipped before inactivating in 1949.

The group's second predecessor is the 381st Strategic Missile Wing. During the Cold War, the wing maintained and operated LGM-25C Titan II missiles for the Strategic Air Command at sites near McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas. The wing and group were consolidated into a single unit in 1984. The consolidated unit was inactivated in 1986 as the Titan II was withdrawn from operational service.

HistoryEdit

World War IIEdit

  Media related to 381st Bombardment Group at Wikimedia Commons

 
B-17s of the 381st Bomb Group en route to targets over Nazi-occupied territory.[note 1]
 
group B-17G Flying Fortress being christened by Edward G. Robinson, 5 July 1944[note 2]

Constituted as the 381st Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 28 October 1942. Activated on 3 November 1942. Used B-17's in preparing for duty overseas. Moved to RAF Ridgewell England, May–June 1943, and assigned to Eighth Air Force. The 381st was assigned to the 1st Combat Bombardment Wing of the 1st Bombardment Division.

The 381st Bomb Group operated chiefly against strategic objectives on the Continent. Specific targets included an aircraft assembly plant at Vélizy-Villacoublay, an airdrome at Amiens, locks at St Nazaire, an aircraft engine factory at Le Mans, nitrate works in Norway, aircraft plants in Brussels, industrial areas of Münster, U-boat yards at Kiel, marshalling yards at Offenberg, aircraft factories at Kassel, aircraft assembly plants at Leipzig, oil refineries at Gelsenkirchen, and ball-bearing works at Schweinfurt.

The Group received a Distinguished Unit Citation for performance on 8 October 1943 when shipyards at Bremen were bombed accurately in spite of persistent enemy fighter attacks and heavy flak, and received a second DUC for similar action on 11 January 1944 during a mission against aircraft factories in central Germany.

Aircraft from the 381st participated in the intensive campaign of heavy bombers against enemy aircraft factories during Big Week, 20–25 February 1944, and the Group often supported ground troops and attacked targets of interdiction when not engaged in strategic bombardment.

The Group supported the Normandy invasion in June 1944 by bombing bridges and airfields near the beachhead. Attacked enemy positions in advance of ground forces at Saint-Lô in July 1944. Assisted the airborne assault on Holland in September. Struck airfields and communications near the battle zone during the Battle of the Bulge, December 1944 – January 1945. Supported the Allied crossing of the Rhine in March 1945 and then operated against communications and transportation in the final push through Germany.

After V-E Day, the 381st Bomb Group returned to Sioux Falls Army Air Field, South Dakota in July 1945 and was inactivated on 28 August.

Air Force ReserveEdit

On 24 July 1947, the group was reactivated at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska as a reserve unit. It was nominally a heavy bomber group, but does not appear to have been equipped with operational aircraft or fully manned before inactivating in July 1949.[3]

Strategic Air Command missile operationsEdit

 
381st SMW Titan II Missile Sites
 
An LGM-25C Titan II intercontinental ballistic missile in silo, ready to launch

During the Cold War, the United States Air Force, via the Strategic Air Command (SAC), established the 381st Strategic Missile Wing, based at McConnell Air Force Base Kansas. The 381st maintained Titan II intercontinental ballistic missiles on alert from 1 March 1962 until being inactivated on 8 August 1986. The 381st placed its first Titan II missile on alert in the fall of 1963. It became the host wing for McConnell AFB on 1 July 1973.

The wing was composed of two Strategic Missile Squadrons (the 532nd and the 533rd). These squadrons were each composed of nine ballistic launch complexes, each housing a Titan II intercontinental ballistic missile. The Titan II being 105 feet long and 10 feet in diameter. The launch complex was about 150 feet deep and 50 feet in diameter including the 20-foot-diameter (6.1 m) launch tube which comprised its center.

The Titans were fully configured for immediate launch in a matter of two minutes. The launch sequence included a number of test and initiation functions as well as a 20-second door opening sequence. The silo closure door weighed 780 tons and was locked down with hydraulically operated locks, and raised on hydraulic jacks. The hydraulics also operated the radial motors that pulled the door open with 1.5-inch-diameter (38 mm) steel cables (four of them). Launch initiation was also accompanied with attenuation water which flowed 9000 gallons per minute for sound suppression and protection of the missile during the launch.

Launch crews were composed of four personnel. Two officers were responsible for launch initiation, while two enlisted crewmembers were responsible for equipment checkout, repair and readiness. All four crewmembers were together responsible for communications, and final responsibility for launch. With an average of eight alerts (duty shifts at the site) per month, a crewmember achieved 200 alerts in about two years.

On 24 August 1978, an accident involving an oxidizer leak at launch complex 533-7 killed two Air Force personnel, caused the temporary evacuation of local communities, and damaged the site. A more positive event occurred during the following month as First Lieutenant Patricia E. Dougherty became the first female officer to perform SAC Titan II alert.

On 2 October 1981, Deputy Secretary of Defense Frank Carlucci III ordered the inactivation of the Titan II weapon system. For McConnell, the end began on 2 July 1984, when Launch Complex 533-8 was removed from alert status. This silo would be placed in caretaker status on 31 August. The deactivation process received a setback on 2 November 1984, when fire broke out at Launch Complex 532-7 after liquid fuel had been unloaded from a deactivated Titan II. As a result of the ensuing investigation, Headquarters Strategic Air Command and the Ogden Air Logistics Center determined that the accident could have been prevented if different procedures were followed. With implementation of these procedures, Titan II deactivation continued.

On 8 August 1986, the 381st Strategic Missile Wing became the second Titan II wing to be inactivated. The 381st was inactivated after providing twenty-plus years of strategic deterrence and winning numerous awards, including the SAC missile combat competition Blanchard Trophy in 1972, 1975, 1980, and 1983.

Missile trainingEdit

On 1 April 1994, the 381st was reactivated and redesignated by Air Education and Training Command (AETC) as the 381st Training Group (Provisional) (381 TRG) under Second Air Force and located at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. A non-flying unit, the group, which was activated on 30 September 1994, is responsible for the consolidation of all space and missile training for Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) and Air Force Global Strike Command.

The 381st provides initial qualification training for ICBM, space surveillance, missile warning, spacelift, and satellite command and control operators. It also provides initial and advanced maintenance training on ALM and ICBM's. It conducts training in joint space fundamentals and associated computer maintenance. The group also conducts qualification and orientation training for AFSPC staff and senior-level personnel, as well as instructor enhancement in support of operational units.

In July 1993, responsibility for missile training was transferred from Air Combat Command to AETC. In September 1994, responsibility for space training was transferred from AFSPC to AETC and consolidated with the missile training units into the 381st Training Group. In October 1996, the space training squadrons moved from Colorado Springs to Vandenberg to further complete the unit's consolidation.

The group consists of three squadrons. The 381st Training Support Squadron provides faculty training, interactive courseware, registrar services, facility management, and resource management and procurement. The two other squadrons are dedicated to student training. The 532 TRS provides courses for ICBM Initial Qualification Training and ICBM, ALCM, and spacelift maintenance. The 533d Training Squadron conducts space surveillance and early warning training. All in all, the group has graduated more than 6000 students from more than 100 different courses.

LineageEdit

381st Bombardment Group
  • Constituted as the 381st Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 28 October 1942
Activated on 3 November 1942
  • Redesignated 381st Bombardment Group, Heavy on 20 August 1943
Inactivated 28 August 1945
  • Redesignated 381st Bombardment Group, Very Heavy
Activated in the reserve on 24 July 1947
Inactivated on 27 June 1949[3]
  • Consolidated with the 381st Strategic Missile Wing as the 381st Strategic Missile Wing on 31 January 1984[4]
381st Training Group
  • Established as the 381st Strategic Missile Wing (ICBM-Titan) on 29 November 1961 and activated (not organized)
  • Organized on 1 March 1962[5]
  • Consolidated with the 381st Bombardment Group on 31 January 1984[4]
Inactivated on 8 August 1986
  • Redesignated as 381st Training Group and reactivated on 1 April 1994

AssignmentsEdit

ComponentsEdit

Group
  • 381st Combat Support Group: 1 July 1972[11] – 8 August 1986
Squadrons
  • 381st Communications Squadron: 15 June 1963 – 1 July 1972[12]
  • 381st Missile Maintenance Squadron, 15 June 1963 – 8 August 1986[13]
  • 381st Training Support Squadron: 30 September 1994 – present
  • 392d Training Squadron, 30 September 1994 – c. 2 July 2012[14]
  • 532d Bombardment Squadron (Later 532d Strategic Missile Squadron, 532d Training Squadron), 3 November 1942 – 28 August 1945, 30 September 1947 – 27 June 1949, 1 March 1962 – 8 August 1986; 1 April 1994 – present[15][9]
  • 533d Bombardment Squadron (Later 533d Strategic Missile Squadron, 533d Training Squadron), 3 November 1942 – 28 August 1945; 1 March 1962 – 8 August 1986; 1 April 1994–present[16][9]
  • 534th Bombardment Squadron: 3 November 1942 – 28 August 1945, 30 September 1947 – 3 May 1948[17]
  • 535th Bombardment Squadron: 3 November 1942 – 28 August 1945, 15 September 1947 – 27 June 1949[18]

StationsEdit

Aircraft and missilesEdit

ReferencesEdit

NotesEdit

Explanatory notes
  1. ^ The aircraft in the foreground is Boeing B-17G-70-BO Flying Fortress, serial 42-31443 "Friday the 13th" of the 532d Bomb Squadron. This aircraft was lost on 22 February 1944 on a mission to Oschersleben, Germany.
  2. ^ Aircraft is Boeing B-17G-55-BO Flying Fortress, serial 42-102664, "Happy Bottom" of the 532d Bomb Squadron. This aircraft ditched in the English Channel on 16 July 1944.
Citations
  1. ^ a b Watkins, pp. 66–67
  2. ^ a b Ravenstein, pp. 206–207
  3. ^ a b c Maurer, Combat Units, pp. 268–269
  4. ^ a b Department of the Air Force/MPM Letter 539q, 31 January 1984, Subject: Consolidation of Units
  5. ^ a b Lineage, including missiles, through 1977 in Ravenstein, pp. 206–207
  6. ^ a b Freeman, p. 253
  7. ^ "Factsheet 96 Air Division, Bombardment". Air Force Historical Research Agency. 5 October 2007. Archived from the original on 28 September 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  8. ^ "Factsheet 73 Air Division". Air Force Historical Research Agency. 5 October 2007. Archived from the original on 8 October 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  9. ^ a b c d Assignments and stations from 1961 through 1977 in Ravenstein, pp. 206–207
  10. ^ Haulman, Daniel L. (25 August 2017). "Factsheet Second Air Force (AETC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved 13 July 2019.
  11. ^ See Mueller, p. 409 (dates at McConnell.)
  12. ^ See Mueller, p. 409 (dates at McConnell, reassigned to 381st Combat Support Group from 1972 to 1976.)
  13. ^ See Mueller, p. 409 (dates at McConnell, Mueller erroneously lists activation date, not organization date.)
  14. ^ Picariello, SSG Erica (13 July 2012). "Historic training squadrons merge, missions continue at Vandenberg". 30th Space Wing Public Affairs. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  15. ^ Assignments through March 1963 in Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 639
  16. ^ Assignments through March 1963 in Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 640
  17. ^ Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 641
  18. ^ Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 642
  19. ^ Stations through 1949 in Maurer, Combat Units, pp. 268–269

BibliographyEdit

  This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

Further reading
  • Brown James G. The Mighty Men of the 381st, Heroes All: A Chaplain's Inside Story of the Men of the 381st Bomber Group. Salt Lake City, Utah: Publishers Press, 1994.
  • Comer, John. Combat Crew: The true story of one man's part in World War II's allied bomber offensive.. Time Warner Paperbacks, 2003. ISBN 0-7515-0796-2
  • Freeman, Roger A. Airfields of the Eighth: Then and Now. After the Battle, 1978. ISBN 0-900913-09-6.
  • Freeman, Roger A. The Mighty Eighth: The Colour Record. Cassell & Co., 1991. ISBN 0-304-35708-1.
  • MacKay, Ron. Ridgewell's Flying Fortresses: The 381st Bombardment Group (H) in World War II. Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Publishing, 2000. ISBN 0-7643-1063-1.
  • MacKay, Ron. 381st Bomber Group. Carrollton, Texas: Squadron/Signal Publications, Inc., 1994. ISBN 0-89747-314-0.
  • Rogers, Brian. United States Air Force Unit Designations Since 1978. Hinkley, England: Midland Publications, 2005. ISBN 1-85780-197-0.
  • Stone, Ken. Triumphant We Fly: A 381st Bomb Group Anthology 1943–1945. Paducah, Kentucky: Turner Publishing Company, 1994 (2nd edition 1997). ISBN 1-56311-126-8.
  • Uncredited. 381st Bombardment Group, 432nd Air Service Group. Westminister, England: Vacher and Sons, 1945.

External linksEdit