321st Missile Squadron

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321st Missile Squadron
LGM-30G Minuteman III test launch at Vandenburg AFB, California
Active 1942-1946; 1947-1948; 1951-1960; 1964-present
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Type Squadron
Role Intercontinental ballistic missile
Part of Air Force Global Strike Command
Garrison/HQ Francis E. Warren Air Force Base
Nickname(s) Bombs Away! (World War II)
Engagements Streamer APC.PNG
World War II (Asia-Pacific Theater)
Decorations Streamer PUC Army.PNG
Distinguished Unit Citation (3x)
US Air Force Outstanding Unit Award - Stremer.jpg
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award (12x)
Philippine Presidential Unit Citation Streamer.png
Philippine Presidential Unit Citation
Lt Col Cynthia Gundersen
321st Missile Squadron emblem (approved 4 November 1965)[1] 321st Missile Squadron.jpg
Patch with unofficial 321st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron emblem[2] 321st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron - SAC - Emblem.png
321st Bombardment Sq emblem (approved 27 March 1943)[3] 321st Bomb Sq emblem.png
321st Bombardment Squadron "Jolly Rogers" patch[note 1] 321st Bombardment Squadron - Emblelm.png

The 321st Missile Squadron is a United States Air Force unit. It is assigned to the 90th Operations Group, stationed at Francis E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming. The squadron is equipped with the LGM-30G Minuteman III Intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), with a mission of nuclear deterrence.


World War II

Media related to 90th Bombardment Group at Wikimedia Commons

B-24D-170-CO Liberator 42-72956 on Mission to Wewak, New Guinea, 24 February 1944

The squadron was first organized as the 321st Bombardment Squadron at Key Field, Mississippi in April 1942 as a Consolidated B-24 Liberator unit and one of the original squadrons of the 90th Bombardment Group. The squadron trained with Liberators in the southeastern United States under III Bomber Command until August.[4][1]

"Jolly Rogers" of the 90th Bombardment Group on a mission, 1943

The squadron moved to Willow Run Airport, Michigan for conversion training on newly manufactured Ford Liberators. Assigned to VII Bomber Command with B-24Ds, the unit moved to Hickam Field, Hawaii in September. The squadron arrived in northern Queensland, Australia in November 1942 and began bombardment missions under V Bomber Command almost immediately.[4]

The squadron attacked enemy airfields, troop concentrations, ground installations and shipping in New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago, Palau and the southern Philippines. The 321st was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for its operations in Papua between through January 1943. The unit participated in the Battle of Bismarck Sea in March 1943, and earned another citation for strikes on enemy airfields at Wewak, New Guinea in September 1943 despite heavy flak and fighter opposition.[4]

During 1944, the 321st supported the New Guinea Campaign through the end of June, then made long-range raids on oil refineries at Balikpapan, Borneo, in September and October. In January 1945, the squadron moved to the Philippines and supported ground forces on Luzon, attacked industrial targets on Formosa, and bombed railways, airfields, and harbor facilities on the Asiatic mainland. Shortly before the end of the war in the Pacific, the 90th moved to Okinawa, from which it would be able to strike the Japanese home islands.[4]

After VJ Day, the squadron flew reconnaissance missions over Japan and ferried Allied prisoners of war from Okinawa to Manila. It ceased operations by November 1945. The squadron was inactivated in the Philippines in early 1946.[1]

Strategic Air Command

The squadron was active but unmanned from, 1 July 1947 – 1 September 1948. Brought to operational status under Strategic Air Command in 1951, being equipped with RB-29 Superfortresses at Fairchild AFB, Washington. Moved to Forbes AFB, Kansas shortly afterward and conducted operational training from, 1 June 1951-September 1952, replacement training from, 1 June 1951 – 1 September 1953, and. SHORAN training from, 10 November 1952-30 Novovember 1953 Replaced the propeller-driven RB-29s with new RB-47E Stratojet swept-wing reconnaissance bombers in 1954, capable of flying at high subsonic speeds and primarily designed for penetrating the airspace of the Soviet Union. Flew many long-range clandestine missions with the RB-47, flying many ferret missions around the periphery of Soviet territory, and sometimes inside on penetration flights to map planned routes for B-52s if combat missions over the Soviet Union ever became necessary. Began performing RB-47 crew training from, c. 1 January 1959 – 20 June 1960. Began phasing down RB-47 missions in 1959 when the vulnerability of the aircraft to Soviet air defenses became evident, was inactivated on 20 June 1960.

Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Squadron

Reactivated on 9 April 1964 as an ICBM squadron assigned to the 90th Missile Wing at Francis E. Warren AFB, Wyoming. Initially equipped with 50 LGM-30B Minuteman Is in early 1964. Upgraded to LGM-30G Minuteman III in 1973/1974, has maintained ICBMs on alert ever since.[5] Its current commander is Lt Col Matthew Dillow.


  • Constituted as the 321 Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 28 January 1942
Activated on 15 April 1942
Redesignated 321 Bombardment Squadron, Heavy on 6 March 1944
Inactivated on 27 January 1946
  • Redesignated 321 Bombardment Squadron, Very Heavy on 11 June 1947
Activated on 1 July 1947
Inactivated on 6 September 1948
  • Redesignated 321 Bombardment Squadron, Medium on 20 December 1950
Activated on 2 January 1951
Redesignated 321 Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron, Medium on 16 June 1952
Discontinued on 20 June 1960
  • Redesignated 321 Strategic Missile Squadron (ICBM-Minuteman) on 16 September 1963
Organized on 9 April 1964
Redesignated 321 Missile Squadron on 1 September 1991[1]



Aircraft and missiles

LGM-30 Minuteman Missile Alert and Launch Facilities
321st Missile Squadron Launch Facilities
Missile Alert Facilities (K-O flights, each controlling 10 missiles) are located as follows:
K-01 6.8 mi S of Dix NE, Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
L-01 21.9 mi N of Stoneham CO, Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
M-01 12.1 mi NE of Stoneham CO, Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
N-01 1.7 mi N of Raymer CO, Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
O-01 11.8 mi E of Grover CO, Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.

See also

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  1. The 90th Bombardment Group "Jolly Rogers" emblem was used as a squadron patch and as a tail marking on B-24s with each squadron having its own color in the background. Watkins, pp. 86-87


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Bailey, Carl E. (June 18, 2015). "Factsheet 321 Missile Squadron (AFGSC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved May 17, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 394 (no approved emblem.
  3. Watkins, pp. 86-87
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Robertson, Patsy (May 27, 2010). "Factsheet 90 Operations Group (AFSPC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved May 11, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. AFHRA 321 MS Page


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

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  • Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings, Lineage & Honors Histories 1947-1977 (PDF). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-12-9.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Watkins, Robert A. (2013). Insignia and Aircraft Markings of the U.S. Army Air Force In World War II. Volume V, Pacific Theater of Operations. Atglen,PA: Shiffer Publishing, Ltd. ISBN 978-0-7643-4346-9.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links