725th SMS History|
Mon, Feb 14th, 2005
posted by AirCommando83
In researching for our survey of the 725th Strategic Missile Squadron's site B, I have saved this concise history of the installations.
On March 13, 1958, the Air Force Ballistic Committee approved the selection of Lowry to be the first Titan I ICBM base. The launch sites were to be located on the bombing range east of Denver. This was conveniently close to the Titan I manufacturer, the Martin Company (now Lockheed Martin) located in Littleton, Colorado.
The Omaha District of the Army Corps of Engineers contracted a joint venture led by Morrison-Knudsen of Boise, Idaho, to construct the silos. A 144-day steel strike in 1959 caused delays and forced Morrison-Knudsen to resort to winter concreting. Despite this problem and others caused by constant design modifications, Morrison-Knudsen completed the project on time with the lowest construction costs of any ICBM base in the country at the time. Fairly smooth management-labor relations contributed to the success. The project also maintained the best safety record in the missile construction program up until that time. Use of a safety net was credited with saving many lives. Three workers did die during the project, although one was the result of a motor vehicle accident that occurred off site.
The 703rd Strategic Missile Wing (ICBM-Titan ) was established on September 5, 1958. It was activated at Lowery on Sept. 25, 1958 and assigned to the 1st Missile Division, Fifteenth Air Force. It was a very short-lived wing. It trained in the operation of the Titan intercontinental ballistic missile and became partially operational on December 10, 1958, but before it could become fully operational, it was replaced by the 451st Strategic Missile Wing.
The 451st Strategic Missile Wing (ICBM-Titan) was activated on April 26, 1961 and replaced the 703rd in July. The first missile complex was accepted on April 18, 1962. The Titan I was soon replaced by the more advanced Titan II, which was deployed at other locations. On November 19, 1964, Defense Secretary McNamara announced the phase-out of remaining first-generation Atlas and Titan I missiles by the end of June 1965. This objective was met; on June 25, 1965, the 724th SMS and 725th SMS were inactivated. The 451st went off alert status on March 26, 1965 and began phasing down. The last missile was removed from Lowry on April 14, 1965. The 451st was discontinued and inactivated June 25, 1965.
Although the strategic missiles were gone, missile training remained a vital component of Lowry’s mission. In 1972, the 3415th Technical School became the USAF School of Applied Aerospace Sciences with missile training continuing within the Department of Aerospace Munitions Training. In 1978, this department would be redesignated the 3460th Training Group.
The Lowry AFB Titan I Missile Complex IA is located approximately 15 miles southeast of Denver, Colorado. It is bounded by a chain-link fence.