549th Strategic Missile Squadron
An Important Part of Nebraska and the Cold War Era
Welcome to the home web site for the 549th Strategic Missile Squadron. The 549th SMS was based at Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha, Nebraska from 1961 thru 1965. There were 3 sites built around Omaha. These sites were manned 24 hours a day, 365 days a year during the time the Squadron was active. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, all 549th sites were at a high level of alert and were ready to launch the Atlas missile should it have become necessary. The squadron was armed with the SM-65 weapon system, more commonly know as the Atlas. The 549th was an Atlas D unit which meant the missile was housed in a "coffin launcher" style complex. The missile was kept in a horizontal osition. In order to launch, a large overhead door was rolled back after which the "bird" was raised to a vertical position. Once upright, the rocket was fueled with RP-1 and Liquid Oxygen after which it would then be made ready for launch. The Atlas D was equipped with a Mark IV re-entry vehicle developed by General Electric and carried a type W-38 warhead which had a yield of approximately 3.8 megatons of TNT. It had a range of approximately 6,000 miles. Developed by General Dynamics, the Atlas weapons system became a national priority during which no expense was spared in the development, testing and implementation of this first generation ICBM system. The Atlas D rocket was also used by NASA during the early days of manned space travel and was the booster used to put John Glenn into Earth orbit.
This web site is dedicated to everyone who served in the 549th SMS. Without their dedication and sacrifice for the national defense of the United States of America, the freedoms we enjoy today would not be possible.
To everyone who served in and supported the 549th Strategic Missile Squadron ....... Thank You !!