|381st Training Group|
381st Training Group Shield
|Active||1942–1945, 1962–1986, 1994–present|
|Role||Space operations training|
Intercontinental ballistic missile training
|Part of||Air Education and Training Command|
|Garrison/HQ||Vandenberg AFB, California|
|Motto(s)||Triumphant We Fly (1942–1945) Peace, Power and Protection (1962–1986)|
|Engagements||European Theater of Operations|
|Decorations|| Distinguished Unit Citation |
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
|Col Merna Hsu|
|Joseph J. Nazzaro|
|Patch with 381st Strategic Missile Wing emblem (approved 19 September 1962)|
|381st Bombardment Group emblem|
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.
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 The consolidated unit was inactivated in 1986 as the Titan II was withdrawn from operational service.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 ICBMs. 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.
The 1st Strategic Aerospace Division is an inactive United States Air Force organization. Its last assignment was with Strategic Air Command, assigned to Fifteenth Air Force, being stationed at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. It was inactivated on 1 September 1991.
The 451st Air Expeditionary Group is a provisional United States Air Force USAFCENT unit. It is assigned to Kandahar Airfield and is also the host unit at Kandahar. It reports to the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing at Bagram Air Base.
The 462d Air Expeditionary Group is a provisional unit of the United States Air Force. It is assigned to Air Mobility Command to activate or inactivate as needed to meet operational requirements. Its last assignment was at Naval Support Facility Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory.
The 340th Flying Training Group is an Air Reserve Component (ARC) of the United States Air Force. It is assigned to the Tenth Air Force, Air Force Reserve Command, stationed at Randolph Field, Joint Base San Antonio, Texas.
The 392d Air Expeditionary Group is a provisional United States Air Force unit. It is assigned to Air Combat Command to activate or inactivate as needed. The group was last active as the 392d Strategic Missile Wing at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, where it briefly operated three early models of intercontinental ballistic missile during 1961. In 1984, the wing was consolidated with the 392d Bombardment Group
The 389th Strategic Missile Wing is an inactive unit of the United States Air Force. Its last assignment was with the 13th Strategic Missile Division at Francis E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming, where it was inactivated on 25 March 1965.
The 390th Strategic Missile Wing was a United States Air Force Strategic Air Command organization, stationed at Davis–Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona. Its mission was to maintain and control intercontinental ballistic missiles.
The 385th Air Expeditionary Group is a provisional United States Air Force unit assigned to Air Mobility Command to activate or inactivate as needed. It was last known to be stationed at Incirlik AB, Turkey. It is currently a tenant unit of the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar.
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). Their mission is to operate safe and secure nuclear weapons, maintain mission ready facilities, and on order destroy OPLAN assigned targets.
The 373d Strategic Missile Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the 308th Strategic Missile Wing, stationed at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas.
The 851st Strategic Missile Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the 456th Strategic Aerospace Wing, stationed at Beale Air Force Base, California. It was equipped with the HGM-25A Titan I intercontinental ballistic missile, with a mission of nuclear deterrence. It was the last Titan I squadron to achieve alert status on 1 February 1961. The squadron was inactivated as part of the phaseout of the Titan I on 25 March 1965.
The 850th Strategic Missile Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the 44th Strategic Missile Wing at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, where it was inactivated on 25 March 1965. The squadron was first activated in 1943 as the 850th Bombardment Squadron. After training in the United States, it deployed to the European Theater of Operations and participated in the strategic bombing campaign against Germany. Following V-E Day, the squadron returned to the United States, where it was inactivated in November 1945. It was activated as an intercontinental ballistic missile squadron in 1960. The squadron was redesignated and activated in June 1960 and equipped with the SM-68 Titan I Intercontinental ballistic missile, with a mission of nuclear deterrence. The squadron was inactivated as part of the phaseout of the Titan I ICBM on 25 March 1965.
The United States Air Force's 392d Training Squadron was an intercontinental ballistic missile training unit at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. Its first predecessor was the 592d Bombardment Squadron, which trained aircrews on Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses during World War II. Its second predecessor was the 392d Missile Training Squadron, which conducted training, primarily for Royal Air Force launch crews, on the PGM-17 Thor missile at Vandenberg from 1958 to 1963. The two squadrons were consolidated in 1985 and activated again in 1993 to train missile crews at Vandenberg. The squadron was inactivated in 2010.
The 725th Strategic Missile Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the 451st Strategic Missile Wing at Lowry Air Force Base, Colorado, where it was inactivated on 25 June 1965.
The 724th Strategic Missile Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the 451st Strategic Missile Wing at Lowry Air Force Base, Colorado, where it was inactivated on 25 June 1965.
The 395th Strategic Missile Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with the 1st Strategic Aerospace Division, based at Vandenberg AFB, California. It was inactivated on 31 December 1969.
The 532d Training Squadron is a United States Air Force unit. It is assigned to the 381st Training Group, stationed at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. The squadron was first activated in 1942 as the 532d Bombardment Squadron and engaged in combat with Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bombers in the European Theater of Operations, where it earned two Distinguished Unit Citations. It returned to the United States after the war and was inactivated. The squadron was activated briefly in the reserves from 1947-1949, but was not fully manned or equipped.
The 533d Training Squadron is a United States Air Force unit. It is assigned to the 381st Training Group at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, where it trains airmen on space systems. It was activated in this role in 1994.
The 644th Bomb Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the 410th Bombardment Wing at K. I. Sawyer Air Force Base, Michigan, where it was inactivated on 21 November 1994.
The 534th Training Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the 381st Training Group at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, where it conducted qualification training for airmen in satellite control operations and maintenance.