90TH MISSILE WING
Francis E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., is home to the 90th Missile Wing, which was activated July 1, 1963, with the original designation of the 90th Strategic Missile Wing. F.E. Warren AFB became the nation's first operational Intercontinental Ballistic Missile base with the introduction of the Atlas missile in 1958. Today, the Mighty Ninety operates Minuteman III (LGM-30G) ICBMs on full alert 24-hours a day, 365 days a year.
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The 90th Missile Wing employs about 2,800 military personnel and 550 civilian employees. Family members of assigned military personnel add another 4,000 to the local population. Also, some 3,000 military retirees reside in the area.
The 90th Missile Wing is made up of a wing staff and five groups - the 90th Operations Group, 90th Maintenance Group, 90th Mission Support Group, 90th Security Forces Group, and the 90th Medical Group.
The 90th Operations Group consists of about 350 operators, facility managers, and support personnel. It is composed of three missile squadrons, an operations support squadron and a standardization and evaluation element. Each tactical missile squadron is responsible for five missile alert facilities and 50 Minuteman III ICBM launch facilities. The units of the 90th Operations Group include the 319th Missile Squadron, 320th Missile Squadron, 321st Missile Squadron and the 90th Operations Support Squadron.
The 90th Maintenance Group, consisting of about 450 personnel, provides the commander with combat-ready Minuteman III ICBMs along with command and control systems required to launch those missiles. The group maintains up to 150 launch facilities and associated missiles, as well as 15 launch control centers, spread between a three-state, 9,600 square-mile complex. The 90th Maintenance Group is comprised of three squadrons: the 90th Missile Maintenance Squadron, the 90th Munitions Squadron, the 90th Maintenance Operations Squadron.
The 90th Mission Support Group provides world-class combat support enabling the 90th Missile Wing's mission while preparing and deploying warrior airmen to combatant commands world-wide. About 1,000 men and women of the group provide civil engineer, fire and emergency services, transportation, supply, communications, contracting, personnel, and morale and welfare support to 29,000 active duty, reserve, family members and retirees, including more than 4,000 personnel assigned to the missile wing and its tenant units. This diverse group fully supports the nuclear mission while maintaining a robust overseas deployment commitment providing combat capability across the spectrum of conflict. The units of the 90th Mission Support Group include the 90th Civil Engineer Squadron, 90th Logistics Readiness Squadron, 90th Communications Squadron, 90th Contracting Squadron and the 90th Force Support Squadron.
The 90th Security Forces Group is composed of six squadrons, with about 1,250 personnel. The 90th, 790th and 890th Missile Security Forces Squadrons provide security for 15 missile alert facilities and 150 launch facilities. The 90th Security Forces Squadron provides installation and weapons storage area security, police services, pass and registration functions, and reports and analysis duties. The 90th Missile Security Operations Squadron provides command and control for the missile field and access control for all missile field forces, security forces training and equipment support, as well as providing security for convoys, tactical response forces and missile maintenance operations and counter small unmanned aerial system support. The 90th Ground Combat Training Squadron, based in Guernsey, Wyoming, provides intermediate to advanced security forces skills training designed to counter and destroy threats identified in the Nuclear Security Threat Capabilities Assessment.
The 90th Medical Group of about 150 personnel is responsible for medical and dental care for more than 19,000 beneficiaries throughout Wyoming, Nebraska, and northern Colorado. The group's mission is to support the ICBM mission by providing world class health care to all beneficiaries. The units of the 90th Medical Group include the 90th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron and the 90th Healthcare Operations Squadron.
The Minuteman III missiles are deployed over a 9,600 square-mile area of eastern Wyoming, western Nebraska and northern Colorado. They are dispersed in hardened silos to protect against attack and connected to 15 underground missile alert facilities through a system of hardened cables. Launch crews consisting of two officers perform around-the-clock alert in launch control centers. A variety of communication systems provide the President of the United States with highly reliable, virtually instantaneous and direct contact with each launch crew.
Blue and yellow are the Air Force colors. Blue alludes to the sky, the primary theater of Air Force operations. Yellow refers to the sun and the excellence required of Air Force personnel. The light blue globe on the dark field represents day and night vigilance of the Wing. The globe also represents the worldwide scope of the unit's mission. The pile reversed suggests the Wing's endeavor for peace through the strength of its assigned weapons. The lightning bolts refer to the swiftness and constancy of the Wing as a deterrent force. The six white stars symbolize the original squadrons of the unit and the honors awarded the Wing.
In the early 1960s, 200 Minuteman I missiles replaced the Atlas missiles. Unlike previous weapon systems, these had the capability of being fired from hardened and widely dispersed underground silo launchers. The first Minuteman missiles deployed at F.E. Warren AFB were the "B" models, which contained one reentry vehicle. These missiles incorporated significant advances beyond the liquid-fueled, remote-controlled Atlas missiles.
From the start, Minuteman missiles have provided a quick-reacting, inertially-guided, highly-survivable component to America's strategic triad. Today's Minuteman III weapon system is the product of almost 40 years of continuous enhancement. The Minuteman III, which can carry a maximum of three reentry vehicles, replaced the Minuteman I in 1975. The Minuteman II missile was never deployed at F.E. Warren AFB.
In 1988, 50 Peacekeeper (LGM-118) missiles were brought on alert in modified Minuteman III missile silos. The Peacekeeper, the most powerful ICBM in the world, was capable of delivering 10 independently-targeted reentry vehicles with greater accuracy than any other ballistic missile. Its deployment fulfilled a key goal of the strategic modernization program and added strength and credibility to the ground-based leg of the strategic triad of the United States. The Peacekeeper missiles were deactivated Sept. 19, 2005.
Following the Cold War, the Air Force began restructuring and downsizing in 1992. Strategic Air Command and Tactical Air Command were inactivated June 1, 1992, and former elements, including the 90th Missile Wing at F. E. Warren AFB, were aligned under the new Air Combat Command, headquartered at Langley AFB, Va.
On July 1, 1993, Twentieth Air Force, the U.S. ICBM force, including the 90th Missile Wing, was realigned under Air Force Space Command, headquartered at Peterson AFB, Colo. This realignment was designed to take advantage of the similarities between missile and space operations.
The final transition for Twentieth Air Force occurred Dec.1, 2009, placing all U.S. ICBM forces under Air Force Global Strike Command, headquartered at Barksdale AFB, La. This realignment ultimately placed ICBMs and bombers with similar missions under a single command.
(Current as of June 1, 2023)