Welcome to the home web site for the 548th Strategic Missile
Squadron. The 548th SMS was based at Forbes Air Force Base in Topeka,
Kansas from 1961 thru 1965. There were 9 sites built in a ring around
Topeka. 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
548th 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 548th was an
Atlas E unit which meant the missile was housed in a "coffin launcher"
style complex. The missile was kept in a horizontal position. In
order to launch, a 400-ton 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 E 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 4 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 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.
During the 2003 Labor Day weekend, many of the members of the 548th SMS
attended the first reunion ever held for this squadron. Many of these
people had not seen each other since the deactivation of the unit in 1965.
During this reunion the 548th SMS Association was formed in order to continue
the research for more members and to have a central organization for those who
served to contact their fellow missileers. A Members Only section of this
web site allows those who served in the 548th to find the people with whom they
served. Any squadron members who are not currently in the database are
urged to contact the 548th Association
so that they can be included.
This web site is
dedicated to everyone who served in the 548th SMS. Without their
dedication to the national defense of the United States, the freedoms we enjoy
today would not be possible. To everyone who served in the 548th Strategic
Missile Squadron.......Thank You!!!
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