567th SMS - HISTORY

 
 
CONTENTS OF HISTORY PAGE
Photo Albums - Pictorial History 
Narrative History
Standing Watch-
(the history of Deer Park)
567 SMS flag
Crew Roster 1964
Launch Simulator

567th Bomb Squadron History
(click back button to return to contents)


PHOTO ALBUMS 
The following sections contain a pictorial history
of the 567th Strategic Missile Squadron. It covers
the beginning and the end, as well as the people. 
Click on the name in the frame and you will get
a full size picture of that subject
 
Personnel Photos
J. Allen's crew
N. Gerlich's crew
R. Barry's crew (64)
R. Barry's crew (65)
D. Black's crew
Dave Turner's crew 
H. Turner's crew
(H. Turner's early R-36 crew)
D. Holmes' crew
P Mathis'  crew
R. Lemanski's crew
Gil Hanson's crew
Group # 1
Group # 2
Group # 3
Group # 4
Powermen, Bishop & Kroll
Job Control
Christmas 1963
  

Operational Photos Deactivation Photos
Arrival of the first Atlas at Fairchild
Atlas on its way to site 3
Raised Breathing
Personnel Tunnel
Launch Console
Diesel Generator
Logic Units
Propellant Loading Exercise
Atlas in Missile bay
Atlas leaving site at Deactivation
Lox Storage Tank
Uncovered Nitrogen Cylinders
Removing Generator
Flame Deflector
Empty Missile Bay
Headed for Norton
Empty Tunnel

Standing Watch
The history of Deer Park


567th SMS Flag Retired

     

CREW ROSTER (as of 1 April 1964)
  

LAUNCH SIMULATOR
Created by Larry Page and Dick Mellor



 


The following is the narrative history of the 
567th Strategic Missile Squadron
 

 THE NUCLEAR POWER STANDOFF
 567th SMS unique place in the Cuban Missile Crisis

Although it occurred more than forty years ago, many of us remember the Cuban Missile Crisis in October of 1962. The movie “Thirteen Days” and other documentaries tell the story. The Defcon level had risen to a position just short of war. US military forces spread all over the world were poised to strike. The Soviet and American governments came face to face in a test of wills. The potential for the use of nuclear weapons was ominously present.

Television provided the American public, as well as the rest of the world, the ability to watch the confrontation of immense proportions play out in their living rooms. There was an intensity to viewing these unfolding events that is hard to describe. President Kennedy showing photographs displaying the buildup of the missile sites in Cuba. Adlai Stevenson, our Ambassador to the United Nations, producing graphic photos of the sites confirming the presence of Soviet nuclear missiles. President Kennedy drew an imaginary line on the ocean well short of the shores of Cuba. He explained that Soviet ships containing missiles that passed this line would be sunk. We watched as they approached the line. paused, turned and returned home. The crisis began and ended before our eyes.

Few know the role of the 567th Strategic Missile Squadron stationed at Fairchild Air Force Base. Critical to the president’s stand was the availability of credible weapons systems, ready and capable of immediate response. In addition to the Navy’s submarines, B-47s all over the world, B-52s on ground and airborne alert ready to deliver a nuclear response, the 567th SMS was an important but little recognized player. Their Atlas nuclear missiles could strike Cuba in a matter of minutes; faster than any other major weapon. The unique feature of the 567th was that they were the only squadron that could retarget the long-range Atlas missiles to Cuba. All other Atlas squadrons were geographically too close to Cuba to hit it. The squadron fulfilled its role with nine Atlas E missiles fully ready for response if called upon. There were, and still are, few area citizens aware of the missile silos’ in the immediate area of Spokane, Washington and fewer still that know their role in the Cuban Crisis.

The squadron had established an enviable record of maintenance and performance. It was ready to perform its mission with all missiles just short of the launch mode. Some squadron members spent the entire thirteen days in the silos, hearing only briefings about the events occurring between the United States and the Soviet Union. Their only contact during this period was a monitored telephone they could use to call their families. While it was a time of great anxiety and tension, the members of the 567th SMS stood ready to perform their assigned duties. Peace was kept, in part. because of the capability of this unique squadron and its members.

The history of the 567th SMS, significant as it is to the area and the nation, is a part of the overall historical picture which will be displayed in the Armed Forces & Aerospace Museum.

Story contributed by: Meri Gorton

 
 



The 567th Strategic Missile Squadron has a  unique history. Fairchild Air Force Base became the first to have both bombers and intercontinental  missiles in one wing. The 92nd  was  designated  a Strategic Aerospace Wing Oct. 1, 1961 when all nine missile complexes belonging to the 567th went on alert for the first time. From that time, and until its deactivation in 1965 the 567th SMS captured almost every possible award for excellence. The 567th SMS has the distinction of being the first combat ready Atlas E squadron.

 
 



The most significant of all the accomplishments of the squadron was its record on Operational Readiness Inspections. Not only was it the first missile squadron to pass an ORI, it was the only one to never fail one.
(link to newspaper article)

Oct. 1961
The only safety trophy ever awarded to a missile
unit by General Dynamics-Astronautics was 
presented to the 567th SMS for safety
achievements in missile installation and check-out
during 1960-61.

Dec. 1961
The unit won the first Headquarters, USAF trophy
for "Outstanding Achievement in Missile Safety
for 1961"

Feb. 1963
SAC's Charles D. Trail Materiel Trophy was
presented to the 567th SMS for performance of
the unit exhibiting the most spirit and talent
for "getting the job done" under any and 
all circumstances.

Apr. 1963
Gen. Thomas S. Power, who was then SAC 
commander in chief, made a special trip the Fairchild
to tour the 567th SMS. During his visit he 
congratulated them on their outstanding record
in missile operations and complimented their 
sustained demonstration of professionalism.
Lt. Gen. Archie J. Old, Fifteenth Air Force 
Commander sent his congratulations at that time also.

Sep. 1963
The 567th was selected by the Air Force
Association to receive the Outstanding Missile 
Unit Award. The Air Force Association is made
up of active and retired personnel whose primary
purpose is to support the Air Force and 
Air Force interests.

Jan. 1964
General Power presented the  "Best Maintenance
Unit is SAC" trophy to Lt. Col. Robert K. Friedli, 
567th SMS commander, at Headquarters, SAC 
during a commanders' conference. A certificate
accompanying the trophy said that the award was
for outstanding achievement in support of the
Strategic Air Command mission.

Mar. 1964
During the month, the 567th was awarded 
permanent possession of the "Best Missile Squadron 
in the 18th Strategic Aerospace Division" trophy.

Apr. 1964
The Col. Lee  R. Williams Memorial Award was 
presented for meritorious achievement in all aspects
of ballistic missile operations.

Nov. 1964
The 567th successfully completed an evaluation of 
their missile sites, shop areas and staff section by the 
3901st Strategic Missile Evaluation Team from 
Vandenberg AFB, Calif.

Dec. 1964
The unit won the Air Force Outstanding Unit 
Award, an award given to military units for
performing extraordinary service to national or 
international significance in support of 
national security.
(link to newspaper article)

Mar. 1965
The 567th was awarded the First Oak
Leaf Cluster to the Air Force Outstanding
Unit Award.
(link to newspaper article)

Along with their many awards for excellence 
in the field of missile operation, the 567th SMS 
has scored exceptionally high in safety ratings.
They have never recorded a single missile incident
or accident. This outstanding achievement has also
been acknowledged by SAC.

 




 


567th BOMB SQUADRON
 
 
Some may be unaware off the connection of the squadron and a WWII Bomb Squadron of the same designation. Thanks to David Dobbs we have the following information.

They flew B24s, were a part of the 389th Bomb Group, 8th AF, and were based in Hethel, England during June-July of 1943. Almost immediately the the group was dispatched to Libya, where it flew it's first mission on July 9th.  The group participated in the August 1st mission to Ploesti, Rumania;  called Operation Tidal Wave. The group target was the refinery complex at Campina. The unit received a DUC, lost 4 aircraft in Romania, 2 made it to Turkey, out of 29 planes. It is believed that some planes and crews were leant to other bomb groups for the main assault on Ploesti. (another source says the 389th lost 7 aircraft) The unit returned to England, flew several missions to France & Holland, was again redeployed to the MTO, came back to the ETO, and flew  against strategic targets until the end of the war, flying its last mission on April 25, 1945. The unit was deactivated at Charleston AAFld, SC. on Sept. 13th 1945. The 389th was named "The Sky Scorpions" with an unapproved patch that actually looks like dragon. The 567th also had an unapproved patch that shows a Texas Longhorn steer on a large bomb.


 
 
 


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