564th Missile Squadron: Earth & Gravel

The story “ICBMs off the books under treaty” on the Great Falls Tribune’s website did not get much attention. In fact, I don’t know if it even made it into the hard-copy of the Tribune because I could not find it in my E-Newspaper this morning.

I thought it was worthy of front page coverage, or at least a place on the front page of the Montana section. I did not see coverage anywhere else. I guess losing 50 missiles and the associated jobs is not as big a deal as it used to be in Great Falls.

UPDATE 04/01/15:  Today I was notified by the Tribune’s Publisher and Editor Jim Strauss that the article had been in the print edition of the Tribune on Sunday, March 22.  It was right there on the front page, which means it’s time to get my eyes checked.  The Western Word regrets the error. 

Those of us who traveled in the missile “field” and worked on or around the missiles, or fought to maintain and increase the missions at the base probably have a different idea. At least I do.

The big news reported in the story by the Tribune’s military reporter is that the Air Force has eliminated 104 deactivated intercontinental ballistic missiles under budget and ahead of schedule. Those 104 include 50 at Malmstrom Air Force Base that were previously operated by the 564th Missile Squadron. The silos were filled with earth and gravel. The 564th was deactivated in 2008, which was due to the New START Treaty.

I was against the elimination of the 50 missiles in the 564th Missile Squadron from the beginning. I wanted the New Start Treaty to have more debate. A Tribune question around that time asked readers if they supported the New START treaty and 60% said no. I would venture to say that most readers of the Tribune have more knowledge of the military than Montana’s two senators at that time (Max Baucus & Jon Tester). They were actually voting on the Treaty.

Back in December 2010 I wrote:

It’s easy to say that a vote for the new Start Treaty by Senators Baucus and Tester is basically a vote against the future of Malmstrom AFB, but on a much bigger scale, it is a vote against the future security of our Nation.

U.S. Senator Jon Tester is now the senior member of the Montana Congressional delegation. The loss of the 50 missiles and the jobs associated with it happened under his watch. He voted for it by voting for the New Start Treaty. He has been given a pass by the media and supporters of the base. It’s easy for Tester and groups who support the base to give the “glass is half-full” talk like they did when they lost the jets at the Air Guard.

Sadly, that glass is now smaller.


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2 thoughts on “564th Missile Squadron: Earth & Gravel

  1. Jackie,

    The story first appeared in print in our Sunday, March 22, paper. It ran on page 1 down the left-hand side. Thanks for your interest in the piece; I agree that it is a huge story for our town. — Jim Strauss

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