The Last 564th Missile Pull

The 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom AFB, Mont., on July 28 pulled the last Minuteman III “owned” by the 564th Missile Squadron, according to a July 30 release. It was just a year since the Air Force directed the unit to remove the 50 ICBMs operated by the 564th MS. The wing already has placed nine of the 564th’s launch facilities and three missile alert facilities in caretaker status and is working to remove the equipment for the remaining 41 LFs and two MAFs before completing the deactivation process by emptying fuel tanks and disconnecting power and other caretaker actions. Under the last Quadrennial Defense Review, the Air Force had to downsize its ICBM force from 500 to 450 missiles. The service chose the 564th MS because it operated an odd-man-out missile configuration. Col. Michael Fortney, 341st MW commander, said, “The removal of the last booster in the 564th marks the closing of a significant period in our wing’s history and, really, the history of our nation’s strategic forces.” He added, “The men and women of the 564th have a distinguished history serving our country and we are proud of the work they have done.” According to an Aug. 1 report in the Great Falls Tribune, airmen of the 564th will transfer away from Malmstrom, which loses 492 out of its roughly 3,600 personnel. The Tribune also reported that Fortney said July 31 that the flag for the 564th would be furled “in the middle of August, and we’re going to put it in a black sleeve,” formally marking the unit deactivation. (Includes Malmstrom report by A1C Emerald Ralston)