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U.S. Air Force
Tactical Missiles 1949-1969
The Pioneers
Book Available Now

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Missile Support Area - Oberweis

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Missile Support Area at Betard

Missile Support Area, (MSA) Oberweis, Germany (Called Betard by the locals)
December 1963

Hangars from the left: TEMS/MEMS (1), MAST (2 & 3), E&A (4), GSC&F/C(5)

Maintenance Control (Puzzle Palace) to the right of the MC-1 Crane.
Photo taken in front of the E&A engine run area by George Mindling (myakka@embarqmail.com)

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U.S. Air Force Tactical Missiles

Now Available On Line at
Amazon.com and Lulu.com!

By the Editors of this Website!

Beyond the Web Page... The only book devoted exclusively to the Matador and Mace Tactical Missiles. The book reveals the story from the initial idea that became the first U.S. pilotless bomber, through the politically troubled development of the ever evolving deployment methods of the Matador and Mace Tactical Missiles. It covers the Units, Groups, Squadrons and Wing that fielded the missiles. From the United States test sites, Europe, Asia and North Africa nothing is omitted. All phases of the application of these two missiles by the U.S. Air Force (and West German Luftwaffe) are included, from the first tentative launches of the XSSM-A-1 Matador in January 1949, to the tense alert duty of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the final launch of a MQM13A in May of 1977. The maintenance, logistics and launch, the men, equipment and tactics are all there.

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"Bob, George, I finished your book 2 days after I received it. Couldn't put it down. It was incredible reading and incredibly detailed information."

Kent Washburn (KWASH55@aol.com) Mace B, Kadena, Okinawa

"George and Bob. I want you both to know how much I enjoyed reading and how much I admire and appreciate what you have accomplished in developing and publishing "The Pioneers". It is truly an outstanding piece of work, reflecting the time and effort required to produce it, but is also a formidable contribution to our military history. I mentioned in some earlier correspondence that I was a little disappointed in the relatively small amount of information regarding the Operating Location/Guidance Sites but you largely made up for it with this magnificent book."

Dale Lake (daleflake@yahoo.com) 601st Tactical Control Squadron, 38th TMW, Hamm, Germany

"I just finished your book, The Pioneers, et al. Please accept my "job well done!" Not only is it informative, but it's very readable. I'd also like to complement you on how well you footnoted it. You have shown that a scholarly work can be both instructive and enjoyable."

Michael Roof (lavinaschnur@hotmail.com) SGM USA (Ret.)

USAF Tactical Missiles - Book Cover

ISBN 978-0-557-00029-6

"Very good work with great detail."

Col. Charlie Simpson, USAF, Retired
Executive Director
Association of Air Force Missileers

"George, the book arrived on Tuesday while I was off to France. Of course, I quickly read the chapter about �Germany's quiet step into the realm of nuclear armament.� You know, this is still a widely ignored fact over here...
...For me it is fascinating to see what the picture really was in the 1950s and 1960s as opposed to what the official communication of the time wanted people to believe. A fascinating book shedding some light on the early days of tactical nuclear missiles as well as the political background that even today is still largely hidden behind the propaganda of the time. Can�t wait to read the rest of it."

Burkhard Domke
Harsefeld, Germany

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Available Now!, Click Here to Order
"U.S. Tactical Missiles 1949-1969 The Pioneers"

"I have your excellent book on USAF tactical missiles. I actually witnessed the decommissioning of the Maces at W�scheim back in 1966."

Paul Offen
Talitha, Tye Common Road
Essex CM12 9PX

"I just wanted to drop you a line and tell you how much I enjoyed the book that you and Bob wrote. The history was of particluar interest to me and my brother who was a history Professor at the University of Wisconsin. He also thought the book was well written, and he now knows what his little brother, (me), did while in Germany for three years."

George Joseph Snyder (gjsnyder@lanset.com)
71st TMS, Steinborn, Germany

"...by the way, I read your book, it was great, thanks for writing it."

Hack Hunton (hack@sstelco.com) Mace B, Kadena, Okinawa

US Air Force Tactical Missiles �2008 - George Mindling and Robert Bolton

Inspired by the 38th TMW Website, George Mindling and Robert Bolton co-authored US Air Force Tactical Missiles 1949 - 1969: The Pioneers �2008, the story of America's first operational missiles, from the Matador to the Mace, from Taiwan, Korea, and Okinawa to Germany, including Lowry, Orlando, Holloman, Santa Rosa Island at Eglin, and even Camp Happiness!

Dieses Buch ist ein Muss f�r alle, die im Rahmen ihres Dienstes bei der U.S. Air Force mit den fr�hen Marschflugk�rpern zu tun hatten, aber auch f�r deutsche Milit�rarch�ologen, die in der Eifel, im Hunsr�ck oder im Pf�lzer Wald schon �ber r�tselhafte Hinterlassenschaften gestolpert sind. Nach mehr als 40 Jahren wird endlich eine F�lle von Fakten, Informationen und Geschichten zu den zwischen 1954 und 1969 in Deutschland stationierten, mit Automwaffen ausger�steten amerikanischen Matador und Mace auf den Tisch gelegt. Ausf�hrlich und lebendig erz�hlen George Mindling und Bob Bolton von den jungen Missilemen, die im M�rz 1954 erstmals in Bitburg ankamen - noch ganz gr�n im Gesicht, weil auf dem Atlantik schwerer Sturm geherrscht hatte. Von den T-33-Flugzeugen, die aus �bungsgr�nden so taten, als w�ren sie Matador-Flugk�rper, �ber die Startstellungen hinweg in Richtung deutsch-deutsche Grenze donnerten und sich von der Gegenseite nur nicht erwischen lassen durften. Oder von der Kuba-Krise, als die US Air Force Europe auf DEFCON 3 ging und an die Mechaniker in Bitburg Munition f�r ihre Karabiner ausgegeben wurde.

Augenzeugen sagen dazu: "Wir h�tten die V�gel auf jeden Fall innerhalb von 15 Minuten in der Luft haben m�ssen!" Es ist lebendige Milit�rgeschichte, die nun nicht der Vergessenheit anheimf�llt, sondern jedermann zug�nglich wird - auch f�r die ortsans�ssige Bev�lkerung, die heute endlich erf�hrt, was sich damals in ihrer Nachbarschaft zugetragen hat. Den beiden Autoren geb�hrt der Dank.

Klaus Stark   (klaus_stark@t-online.de)
Berlin, Germany

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MSA in spring 
 of 1969

MSA in the spring of 1969.
The entire Bitburg Air Base was painted Olive Drab in the late 1960's to hide it from visual observation.

MSA under construction in 1961

MSA Under Construction

The Photo contributed by Garld and Janice Edwards (geje@comcast.net), used with permission

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Matador Missile Monument

Dedicated to coincide with the deactivation of the last operational Matador in September, 1962, the Matador missile monument had been removed by the end of the 1980's.   The Matador Missile Monument was re-dedicated in W�scheim Air Station near Hahn in 1989 at the reactivated, and relocated, headquarters for the 38th Tactical Missile Wing Headquarters.


The TM-61C Matador Missile Monument located in front of the munitions area, MSA, 1973.

Photos by and courtesy of George Mindling (myakka@embarqmail.com)


When the Monument was dedicated the first time..  At Bitburg!


When the Monument was dedicated the second time time..  At W�scheim!


Visit the TM-61C Missile Monument today at W�scheim

The Monument
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Mace B in transport position

The TM-76B (60-5416) in transport position

Photo courtesy of Glen Curl (gcurl@bv.net)

Engine and Airframe 

The Entire E&A Section poses in 1969 in front of the Matador Missile Monument that was later moved to W�scheim

E & A

The A&E hangar at MSA

A & E

A&E photos contributed by Garld and Janice Edwards (geje@comcast.net)

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Martin Co Logo

The Martin Company maintained support facilities at every base the Matador or Mace was stationed. Their Tech Reps were an integral part of every organization. Click here to take a look at the Martin Company Depot Maintenance Facility at MSA.

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MSA Mess Hall

One the best open mess halls in the US Air Force.
Ever had hasenpfeffer? It was served at the MSA Open Mess more than once.

Photo courtesy of Kathy Geary (k.geary@worldnet.att.net)

K-9 Kennels

The 585th TMG kennels before the AP unit was merged with the 36th Air Police squadron.

Photo courtesy of Ed Cole (LMCENC@aol.com)

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Guidance System Checkout (GSC) and Flight Controls Hangar

Missile In Flight Controls Checkout

Original art "Checkout" by George Mindling - 1962 � George Mindling

Mace "B" in Flight Controls

A CGM-13B, still in the checkout/launch but with the wings in the folded position, awaits being lowered to transport position for the trip to a launch site after checkout in Flight Controls

The heavy slate ceiling tiles began to randomly fall after the hangar had been occupied for less than a year. All personnel had to wear their "Army" combat helmets in the hangar as there weren't enough hard hats to go around. Safety tabs had to be welded to each ceiling cross member.

The Flight Controls area as seen from the Guidance System Checkout Area. The photo is after the famed "Baby Blue" asphalt floor tiles had been removed from the hangar floor. The Guidance System Checkout area (GSC)

The front of a SCOPS (Systems Checkout Power Supply) sits behind the last nose section, a Test Set M is visible on the work stand. The trailer to the left is a 4000A with both the "Mod-B" and "Mod-C" used to supply power to the nose section during transit.

The scorched area above the main door was never repainted

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"...I was working at the site one nite when we caught the hanger door on fire with a loaded missile. Myers saved out hide by remembering where the fire extinguisher was, and I never called him God Hates Myers after that. I was sitting in the office area right next to the door, reading a comic book. Ray was refueling the heater. The next thing I see is Ray running by me with his ass on fire and he's beating on his own ass to put the fire out. That's when the door went up. I guess nobody ever checked to see if that insulation they used was fireproof or not. It wasn't."

Ted Jarvi (TCJarvi@aol.com)


How NOT to pass an Operational Readiness Inspection...

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GSC - Guidance
System Checkout

One of the checkout stations in The Guidance System Checkout (GSC)Area

Photos by and courtesy of George Mindling
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Mace B Nose sections

Inspected and tested TM-76 "B" nose sections awaiting dispatch

The Photo contributed by Garld and Janice Edwards (geje@comcast.net), used with permission

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This page is in no way sponsored or endorsed by the United States Air Force.
Opinions and views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Department of the Air Force.

Web Page Design and Development by
George Mindling - Port Charlotte, Florida

�George Mindling - 2003-2006 All Rights Reserved