Air Force leaders at F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo., inactivated the 400th Missile Squadron on Monday, marking the end of an era
Maj. Gen. Frank Klotz, Twentieth Air Force Commander, praises the men and women of the 400th MS during his speech at the inactivation ceremony here Oct. 4. (photo by Tech. Sgt. Steve Goetsch)
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F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo.--Air Force leaders at F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo., inactivated the 400th Missile Squadron on Monday, marking the end of an era.
Members of the 400th MS manned launch control centers for the Peacekeeper ICBM, which was deactivated on Sep. 19 at Warren.
“It’s a day of great joy and pride, but also one of sadness and nostalgia,” said Maj. Gen. Frank Klotz, 20th Air Force Commander. “From the Dec. 10, 1963, until today, the 400th Missile Squadron has served nobly and well.”
As the guest speaker for the event, General Klotz praised members of the 400th MS for outstanding service over the years and for adjusting to the reality of the post-Cold War period of ICBM operations.
“This should be a moment of pride for past and present members of this squadron,” said General Klotz. “You’ll always have your memories and war stories about being part of something special, something that mattered, something that truly made a difference…a very big difference.”
After the general’s speech, Lt. Col. David Bliesner, 400th MS Commander relinquished command of the squadron. Retired Lt. Col. Russell Smith, a member of the original 400th Bomb Squadron formed in 1942, assisted him in casing the 400th MS flag. This action symbolized the squadron’s official inactivation.
“This ceremony brings back different kinds of memories,” said Colonel Smith. “It’s touching to be honored still and to represent those who are no longer here.
Members of the official party included General Klotz, Col. Michael Carey, 90th Space Wing Commander; Col. Michael Fortney, 90th Operations Group Commander; Colonel Bliesner and Colonel Smith.
The 400th MS originally formed Jan. 28, 1942, as the 10th Reconnaissance Squadron. The squadron was activated Apr. 15, 1942, at Key Field, Miss., and seven days later re-designated the 400th Bomb Squadron. The unit flew B-24 Liberator Bombers in ten war campaigns and was deactivated Jan. 27, 1946.
The 400th Strategic Missile Squadron was activated Dec. 10, 1963, and reorganized at F.E. Warren July 8, 1965, as the 13th Minuteman I Squadron. In 1972, the squadron began conversion to the Minuteman III and on Nov. 21, 1973, became the first operational Minuteman III squadron. The latest modification was the upgrade to the Peacekeeper missile, the first of which went on alert Oct. 10, 1986.