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

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Lowry Air Force Base

Lowry Technical Training Center

Lowry Technical Training Center  patch

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B-61 ar Lowry AFB 1955

The YB-61 Matador at Lowry while it was in the Court Area of the Interim Air Force Academy in 1955. The missile later graced the entrance to the electronics school at Lowry.

Robert McCall Artwork from the U.S. Air Force Art Collection.

YB-61 on a Pedestal

YB-61 Matador

Photo Courtesy of Bob Bolton (

"Attached to this message is a picture of the gate guard in front of the HQ training building in Denver...

... While I was in PATS (Personnel Awaiting Training Squadron) at Denver I had the dubious honor, at that time, of stripping the old paint off of this missile. It was in the process of being refurbished for the display condition you see in the picture. I worked in some bone yard near the flight line while stripping the paint off of the missile and stripping the skin off of my hands with the chemicals I used. I took this picture in May of 1961 a couple of months before I left Denver heading to Orlando.

In 1998 I submitted this same picture to the Association Of The Air Force Missileers "Victors in the Cold War" book and it was published in B&W on page 48".

Bob Bolton (

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U.S. Air Force Tactical Missiles

Now Available On Line at and!

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 ( 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 ( 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 ( 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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"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 Wüscheim 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 (
71st TMS, Steinborn, Germany

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

Hack Hunton ( 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 für alle, die im Rahmen ihres Dienstes bei der U.S. Air Force mit den frühen Marschflugkörpern zu tun hatten, aber auch für deutsche Militärarchäologen, die in der Eifel, im Hunsrück oder im Pfälzer Wald schon über rätselhafte Hinterlassenschaften gestolpert sind. Nach mehr als 40 Jahren wird endlich eine Fälle von Fakten, Informationen und Geschichten zu den zwischen 1954 und 1969 in Deutschland stationierten, mit Automwaffen ausgerüsteten amerikanischen Matador und Mace auf den Tisch gelegt. Ausführlich und lebendig erzählen George Mindling und Bob Bolton von den jungen Missilemen, die im März 1954 erstmals in Bitburg ankamen - noch ganz grün im Gesicht, weil auf dem Atlantik schwerer Sturm geherrscht hatte. Von den T-33-Flugzeugen, die aus übungsgründen so taten, als wären sie Matador-Flugkörper, über 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 für ihre Karabiner ausgegeben wurde.

Augenzeugen sagen dazu: "Wir hätten die Vögel auf jeden Fall innerhalb von 15 Minuten in der Luft haben müssen!" Es ist lebendige Militärgeschichte, die nun nicht der Vergessenheit anheimfällt, sondern jedermann zugänglich wird - auch für die ortsansässige Bevölkerung, die heute endlich erfährt, was sich damals in ihrer Nachbarschaft zugetragen hat. Den beiden Autoren gebührt der Dank.

Klaus Stark   (
Berlin, Germany

This book is not only a must for all those who served in the U.S. Air Force with the early cruise missiles, but also for German military archeologists who have been puzzling over relics stumbled across in the Eifel, the Hunsrück and the Palatinate Forests. After more than 40 years, we finally have a wealth of facts, information and stories, from 1954 to 1969, of the nuclear equipped American Matador and Mace missiles stationed in Germany placed on the table.

With detailed and vivid descriptions, George Mindling and Bob Bolton talk about the young Missilemen who arrived for the first time in March, 1954, in Bitburg - still green in the face, having prevailed the Atlantic crossing in major storm. Of the T-33 aircraft which practiced as if they Matador missiles launched in the direction of German-German border, or from the Cuban missile crisis, when the U.S. Air Force Europe went on DEFCON 3 and was issued ammunition to the mechanics in Bitburg for their rifles. Eyewitnesses say: "We would have to have the birds in the air in any event within 15 minutes!"

It is vital military history that is prey to oblivion, but is now accessible to everyone - even for the local population, which today finally learns what happened at that time in their neighborhood.

The two authors deserve thanks for saving the history.

Klaus Stark,
Berlin, Germany

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"U.S. Tactical Missiles 1949-1969 The Pioneers"

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Just wanted to say the sight is fantastic! One thing that I've noticed, is the almost total lack of information concerning Lowry AFB and the individuals who spent their time there training the future technicians and mechanics. I was one of the lucky ones to spend 7 years, 11 months at Lowry, the last 6 years as an instructor for the Mace 'B' GEMS school. I always wished I could have been in an operational unit, but the AF needs said I was an instructor. Over the period at LAFB I was assigned to the 3419th, 3424th, and the 3421st. I always wore my pocket rocket with pride, and the instructor badge with the same pride. Keep up the good work!

Robert D. Smith, A1C (

Road Guards Out!!!

1961 Lowry AFB (Lowry 2) photos by Clifford (CW) Lewis, "B" Bird TEMS, (

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Memories of PATS

The joys of waiting for your class to start: PATS!
In the 50's and early 60's, daily KP (2:30 am til they let you go...) was the daily duty.
Everyone in PATS (Personnel Awaiting Training Squadron) paid their dues!
Pity the poor airmen who had a school that only started once every four months!
Welcome to the world of "Aerospace Technicians!"

Copy of the January, 1961 "Lowry Airman" courtesy of George Mindling (

Free time

KP'd out. The author uses his free time wisely.

George Mindling, Flight Controls, and Jim Hawkins, MEMS, at Lowry AFB, Colorado, in front of a TM-76A school training missile on May 13, 1961,.

The photo was taken during a snow storm on Sunday, Mother's Day. The day before had crowds in short sleeved shirts as they attended Armed Forces Day Open House with sunshine and 65 degree temperature!

TM-76A Training Missile12

The TM-76A display missile at Lowry AFB, on display at Lowry 1 during better weather

Photo courtesy of Lee Garwig (

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Good Afternoon,

First Instructor Class - Mace B I Found your Kadena Mace site and had a few memories come back. The photo is of the original class of instructors from Lowry AFB after graduating from the G.L. Martin factory training course in Baltimore MD in 1960.

I'm the guy in the back row with the mustache. I may be able to dig up the names of the rest of them.

I am also a former member of the 498th in the TEMS area from 1965 to 1968. If your still putting stuff on this site I may be able to help. Let me know.

MSG Larry Hamilton USAF(Ret)    (

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"Two old coots like us..."

Bill Reeves, SMSGT (Retired) and George Mindling, 2/3rds of the initial 1962 Bitburg Flight Controls IC&V team 9 on October 2, 2007, some 45 years later (Leonard Estrada not pictured). Bill is the instructor at Baltimore, top row far right, and George is the fellow on the left in front of the school missile in the snow in the photo above. George is also the webmaster for the 38th TMW Web Site.

Two old coots like us...

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Wonder What Ever Happened to the Black Hangar?

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