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Missile squadron celebrates 60th Anniversary

  • Published
  • 8th Air Force Public Affairs

The intercontinental ballistic missile targeting unit within the 625th Strategic Operations Squadron recently celebrated its 60th anniversary at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb.


The 625 STOS has its roots as an ICBM targeting unit within the 544th Combat Applications Squadron which started in 1958 with the first Atlas ICBMs going on alert.  Since inception, the 544th has undergone many name changes and has wound its way through Air Combat Command, Air Force Space Command, Headquarters 20th Air Force and others.  Today, the 544th CAS, now known as the 625 STOS, reports to the 595th Command and Control Group.


“We enjoy the mission very much,” said Capt. Bennett Johnson, Chief of Current ICBM Operations.  “As a missileer spending 6 years at F.E. Warren and in the missile fields of Wyoming, Nebraska, and Colorado, it is fascinating to be part of a squadron that does so much for the crews out in the missile wings.” 


“I am honored to work with motivated, highly skilled airmen who carry on a long legacy of excellence,” said Air Force Civilian Allen Steenhoek, Assistant Director of Operations.  “We are a small elite group that appreciates the critical nature of the mission.  Targeting the ICBMs and building the ICBM war plans is essential, and the pressure can be immense as targeting must be perfect.”


Over the past 60 years, the basic elements of targeting have not changed; however, the methods have been steadily fine-tuned to improve accuracy and speed.


“The targeting mission has endured as the ICBM weapon systems have evolved,” Steenhoek said.  


Even after 60 years, it appears the 625 STOS maintains a vital role in the nuclear enterprise.  In fact the future holds exciting things for the squadron such as modernizing the targeting system with state of the art technology and the introduction of a new ICBM.


“With a new ICBM in the works, we have a lot to look forward to.  This will be years away, but the capabilities and the systems of Ground Based Strategic Defense will give us new capabilities and increase our warfighting abilities,” said Johnson.


Despite these new challenges, the 625 STOS will endure as long as it has Airmen dedicated to this important mission.


“We envision a future that will be much like our past.  It will be a mix of new and old.  We may face more organizational and infrastructure changes, but the one constant will be the flawless execution of the mission,” said Steenhoek.