The 341st Operations Group, activated Sept. 1, 1991, is made up of more than 400 operators, administrators and facility managers. Together, they ensure the day-to-day combat readiness of the base's missile alert facilities and Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles spread across a 13,800-square mile missile complex; the largest such complex in the western hemisphere. The group is composed of three missile squadrons, an operations support squadron, and a standardization and evaluation division.
The 10th, 12th and 490th Missile Squadrons are warfighting units comprised of missile operators and facility managers. Each squadron provides highly trained, on alert missile combat crews prepared to employ the world's most powerful weapon system in support of United States' strategic objectives. The professional facility managers stationed at each missile alert facility ensure the operations, maintenance and security forces crews who live and work out of their facilities are care for, prepared and ready to carry out their missions.
10th Missile Squadron
The 10th Missile Squadron was originally constituted as the 10th Bombardment Squadron Dec. 22, 1939, and activated at Langley Field, Virginia, Feb. 1, 1940. It was assigned to Borinquen Field, Puerto Rico; Edinburgh Field, Trinidad; Lincoln Army Air Field, Nebraska; Westover Field, Massachusetts; and Abilene (Dyess) AFB, Texas, before being deactivated June 25, 1961.
On Aug. 2, 1961, the Air Force reactivated the squadron as the 10th Strategic Missile Squadron and assigned it to Malmstrom AFB, Montana. By late October 1962, the launch facilities comprising Alpha Flight were brought to alert status during the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis. A statement from President Kennedy referred to Alpha Flight as "America's First Ace in the Hole," giving the squadron its motto and tradition.
12th Missile Squadron
Originally constituted the 12th Bombardment Squadron Dec. 22, 1939, the 12th Missile Squadron also activated Feb. 1, 1940, at Langley Field, Virginia. It served in St. Croix; Alamogordo, New Mexico; Hartford, Connecticut; and Dyess AFB, Texas, before it was deactivated in June 1961.
On March 1, 1962, the 12th transitioned to its current role as part of America's deterrent force when it became the 12th Strategic Missile Squadron. It quickly achieved the distinction of being the first Minuteman missile squadron to become 100 percent combat ready. While operating the Minuteman I weapon system, the crews of the 12th were nicknamed "Red Dawgs."
The squadron flag proudly displays the anti-submarine campaign streamer and five Outstanding Unit Awards. Today, the 12th Missile Squadron continues its deterrent role into the 21st century as one of the world's strategic war-fighting units.
490th Missile Squadron
The 490th Missile Squadron was activated as the 490th Bombardment Squadron (medium) Sept. 15, 1942, as part of the 341st Bombardment Group (medium), flying the B-25 Mitchell bomber in the China-Burma-India Theater of Operations.
The squadron's emblem of "Skull and Wings" adorned the fuselages of the 490th MS B-25s. After the war, the 490th MS was reactivated at Dyess AFB, Texas, in 1955. In 1962, the squadron was redesignated as the 490th Strategic Missile Squadron, assigned to the 341st Strategic Missile Wing at Malmstrom AFB, Montana. It is the only squadron that has been continually assigned to the 341st since activation.
The 490th Missile Squadron missile alert facilities are deployed at the farthest sites in 20th Air Force; squadron personnel are known as the "Farsiders" and take tremendous pride in being the furthest from the support base.
341st Operations Support Squadron
The 341st Operations Support Squadron's current operations, weapons and tactics, codes, host aviation resource management and weather sections are key to accomplishing the group and wing mission. The 341st OSS trains missile crew instructors and support personnel for on-alert duties, provides critical targeting, command and control capability, and coding actions for the base's ICBMs and launch control centers. Additionally, the 341st OSS monitors and documents crew force readiness through the HARM office, and keeps base agencies and missile alert facilities aware of up-to-date weather patterns as an integral part of Team Malmstrom.
Standardization and Evaluation
The 341st Operations Group Standardization and Evaluation section supports the wing mission by standardizing and evaluating operational procedures and facilities of missile combat crews and facility managers. This is accomplished through rigorous check sights, simulator and field evaluations, and meticulous verification of any change to procedure. The section provides critical feedback to the operations group on the effectiveness of combat-ready forces, training and the ability to perform the unit mission. In addition, the 341st OGV is the operations technical adviser to wing senior leadership.
Working together, these men and women carry out their mission as one cohesive team by providing lethal global strike power to the president of the United States, deterring adversaries and assuring our allies.
In addition to its critical mission here at Malmstrom, the 341st Operations Group deploys forces worldwide in support of U.S. Air Force contingency plans. Recent deployments include operations Inherent Resolve, Freedom's Sentinel, Horn of Africa, Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, Provide Comfort, Southern Watch, Deny Flight and Deliberate Force.