Stars & Stripes – 3 September 1966
SEMBACH, Germany, Sept. 3 (Stars &Stripes) – The 1,500-man 38th Tactical Missile Wing here has started deactivation processes, following a formal ceremony retiring its venerable Mace A missiles.
Gen. Lyman L. Lemnitzer, Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, praised the unit for its many years of dedicated service.
He said in a message to the 38th: “The unit demonstrated a consistent ability to execute its assigned task under conditions which have called for the utmost dedication and professionalism.”
“We are aware,” he added, “of the efforts which have resulted in this accomplishment and extend to all personnel of the unit our appreciation for previous tasks well done and best wishes for continued success in future endeavors.”
Retraining Scheduled for Men
The outmoded, subsonic Mace A missiles came to Europe in 1959 and have been under control of the 38th which has missile squadrons here and at Hahn AB, Germany.
Many of the 38th’s missilemen will be retrained into newer missile systems in the United States while others will be reassigned or rotated into their respective Air Force specialties, a USAFE spokesman said.
Deactivation of the unit is part of previously announced Defense Department moves that included the closing of an air traffic and control center in the United Kingdom. The Pentagon announcement said this action does not in any way reduce military effectiveness.
The 2nd Mobile Communications Gp now based at Toul-Rosieres AB, France is earmarked to replace the vacating missile unit. The 38th will most likely be around until about Sept. 25, while it disposes of the missiles and related equipment, the USAFE spokesman explained.
Maj. Gen. John D. Lavelle, 17th AF commander, headed the list of Air Force officials at the ceremony. Also present were German and French dignitaries.
Pershings Adding New Punch
The original DOD announcement of the Mace A withdrawal said target areas assigned to the winged missile will be covered by other systems, including Pershing ballistic missiles already in Europe.
Mace A missiles are relatively vulnerable to a surprise attack. The mobile Pershing,, officials noted, has greater ability to survive tend also is better able to penetrate enemy defenses.
Mace B missiles based at Bitburg AB are not affected by the pullout, USAFE officials said.
The “B” bird can fly up to 1,200 miles with either nuclear or conventional payloads. A normal mission would program it to fly high over friendly territory and at tree-top level in enemy areas. It also has supersonic capability for terminal dives.
By DAN DEAN, Staff Writer