447th Missile Squadron Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota Nuclear Ballistic Missiles Air Force Challenge Coin
This coin is 1 1/2 inches in diameter.
The 447 MS was equipped with the LGM-30G Minuteman III Intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), with a mission of nuclear deterrence. With the end of the Cold War, the 447th was inactivated on 30 September 1998.
Intercontinental ballistic missile operations
On 1 November 1963 the 447th Strategic Missile Squadron was organized as a SAC LGM-30F Minuteman II intercontinental ballistic missile wing. It was organized on 1 February 1965, and was the first unit to place the Minuteman II on alert status in January 1966. It became fully operational on 7 December 1966, with a complement of 50 missiles. It participated in Project Long Life II, a unique reliability test in which modified Minuteman missiles were fueled to travel a few hundred yards. The first launch from a silo occurred on 19 October 1966 and was declared unsuccessful. Nine days later, a second attempt also failed. A third attempt under Project Giant Boost occurred in August 1968 and again proved unsuccessful.
The squadron converted to LGM-30G Minuteman III missiles from December 1971 to March 1973. These missiles represented a significant technological advance, having multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs). Coordinating the missile changeover required complex planning and execution.
With the restructuring of the Air Force and the disestablishment of SAC in the early 1990s, the squadron was reassigned to Air Combat Command (ACC) in 1992 and then came under Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) in 1993.
In March 1995, the Base Realignment and Closure Commission selected the 321st Strategic Missile Wing for inactivation. The squadron was ordered to securely transfer its alert responsibilities to the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana. It maintained nuclear alert until inactivated in 1998, nearly 40 years after it first went on alert.