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

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Site III - Grünstadt
887th Tactical Missile Squadron

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A German Carpenter heads home

Meeting the past and the future

A German carpenter walks toward the main gate with his wooden tool box while TM-76A Mace missiles of the 887th Tactical Missile Squadron stand on alert duty, sometime in 1963. The switch from the 822nd to the 887th has been completed but the shelters have not yet been erected.

Photo courtesy of Phillip Thomas (pthomas214@cfl.rr.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 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 (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 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   (klaus_stark@t-online.de)
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

Support independent publishing - buy this book on Lulu.

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

MGM-13A (TM-76A) Mace Missiles of the 887th Tactical Missile Squadron on alert in the Grünstadt Launch Shelters - 1965

Photo courtesy of Paul Holmberg, TAC Missile Association

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The Ever Vigilant Guardians - Defenders Without A Mission

Grünstadt Launch Shelters

After the Air Force left... The Grünstadt Launch Shelters - 1981

Photos courtesy of Bob Lippincott (boblippincott@aol.com)

Abandoned Launch Shelters
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After the RFML (Rapid Fire Multiple Launch) concept was implemented, but before theshelters were erected



Grünstadt, 1964, the 887 TMS soon after the shelters were erected. Noticethere are no missiles in the shelters yet.

Thanks to Ron "Ski" Wiatrowski, launch crew weaponsmechanic, for the USAFE aerial photo of the 887th!


Bob Bolton with his Bird

Ready for Duty...
A1C Bob Bolton, 887th TMS, with a MGM-13A (TM-76A) Mace with at Grünstadt, summer of 1965

Teracruzer with Guidance Unit

MM-1 Teracruzer with Guidance Unit

MM-1 Photograph courtesy of BobBolton (olliesnapper@gmail.com)

MM-1 Page Click Here!
For More on the MM-1...Click Here!

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Air Police at the GAte

Air Policemen A2C Mariner and A1C JW Cook at the mate gate of "C"Flight, summer of 1961.

Photo courtesy of John Cook (Cookieman1@cox.net)

Guard house in winter

Taken while still 882nd, Combat Site III, AKA C flight. Winter 1961

Snow Rabbit

Drinking German Beer results in strange visions....

Over a couple of years that snow bunny morphed into the unofficial 887th squadron emblem. Beer induced or not it, the 887th bunny banner reappeared 38 years later at the Denver reunion when Ed Johnson surprised the Grünstadt gang when he unfurled it for all to see once again.

Just thought you might enjoy seeing these photos.


Bob and Bunny in 64Bunny inspiration...

Bob Bolton and the Bunny in 1964. Photos from Bob Bolton (olliesnapper@gmail.com)

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Phillip Thomas wrote:

"I was reviewing some of my Grnstadt data and have a few picture and newspaper articles you may be interested in...

The Tac Eval Medical Situations presented to me by Tac Eval Team. At Grunstadt,[Only two survive and are as follows]

Problem # 3 - All QRA missiles have been launched. Your Mechanic No. 2 falls from the MM-1 truck while going to shut it down. He has a compound fracture of the left leg and is unconscious.[PREFACE ALL REPORTS WITH THE WORD SIMULATED]

Problem #6 - All QRA Missiles were launched. The site has been strafed and the Admin. Bldg & AGE Bldg are on fire. There are six, casualties, 2 major chest wounds, 2 minor arm wounds, and the Site Commander and Operations Officer are dead. [PREFACE ALL REPORTS WITH THE WORD SIMULATED]

I believe Problem #6 is the event where I had to declare SSgt Herbert A Simmons service # 13599877 [DOA]. If the old boy is still kicking tell him I am sorry about having to declare him dead on that day.

I still have the AF Form 38 Emergency Treatment tag I put on him that day. Some time in the early 60's.

Those were exciting times."
Phillip Thomas
Medical Tech
C Flight [Grünstadt] (pthomas214@cfl.rr.com)

guard house

Photo above taken some time after the change over from the 822nd to the 887th so at least after September 1962.

Bob Bolton's 1964 VW 1500S Variant

Bob Bolton's 1964 VW 1500S Variant, about 1/2 mile out side the Grünstadt gate on the access road.

Site 3, October, 2002

The Grünstadt Gate, October 2002.
Photo also taken by Bob Bolton on vacation in 2002

Bob Bolton - (olliesnapper@gmail.com)

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Just A Further Note or Two on the G'stadt Site...

Site-3 -Later

The small concrete pad to the rear of the site was an old Air Force Security Service (6910th AFSS) site.

A brief summary of Army activity at Grünstadt (or, as we more often referred to it - Neuleiningen) is as follows:

1975 - 1978 The site was set up and used by Det B, 502nd Army Security Agency (ASA) Bn for the Guardrail I, II, and IIa Integrated Processing Facility (IPF) site. The unit was redesignated as the 330th Electronic Warfare Aviation Company (Forward) (330th EW Avn Co (FWD)), and resubordinated to the 2nd Military Intelligence Battalion (Aerial Exploitation) in 1978.

The whole unit was not located at G'stadt - The company Hq was in Kaiserslautern's (K-town) Kleber Kaserne, and the flightline (initially with RU-21D/RU-21H, later with RC-12D sircraft) was located at Ramstein AB. Only 13 - 15 people actually lived at the site (Ops Site, as we called it). Our Air Force "sister unit" personnel came from the 6918th AIr Force Security Squadron (AFSS) - later Electronic Security Squadron (ESS) at Sembach AB. During this time, the Mess Hall building burned, leaving only the concrete pad after all debris was removed.

1979 - 1985 The site was upgraded to the Guardrail V (GRV) IPF, and in the fall of 1985 the unit moved to Echterdingen Army Airfield (Stuttgart International Airport). The site was subsequently used by various and sundry communications units on deployment before being totally abandoned.

Photo and Text courtesy of Bob Lippincott (boblippincott@aol.com)

I am not an Air Force veteran nor have I been anywhere near a missile. But I did spend 3.5 years working at the Grünstadt site. I was there from 1974 to 1977 as a member of the 330th ASA Co. (AVN). The aerial picture on this web page shows Grünstadt site just as I remember it. I since have been in contact with Bob Lippincott and Bob Bolton. As it turns out, its very possible that I took that picture. I was the unit photographer at the time and once I took a few laps in a helicopter with the sole purpose of taking pictures. Chances are that picture was from one of the slides I shot.

Thanks for hosting the site and that picture. They have put me in touch with pieces of my past.

Jeff Dawson (plummet@wi.rr.com)

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Grünstadt - Site III - 2005
( 49º 33´ 27.91" N,   8º 08´ 05.13" E. )

Site III today - Google

Photo courtesy of Google Earth

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Opinions and views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Department of the Air Force.

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All Contributions used with Permission

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