Images of America
Minot Air Force Base
by Lt. Col. George A. Larson, USAF (Ret.)
It is fitting that the cover of the book shows the first Boeing B-52H Stratofortress that landed at Minot Air Force Base, as the Minot Air Force Base is still known for and home to the Air Force’s B-52 bombers today.
The plane pictured on the cover is named the Peace Persuader. The Strategic Air Command equipped the 4136th Strategic Wing at Minot Air Force Base with B-52Hs in 1961. The first landing of the first B-52H was part of a celebration on the base referred to as “Peace Persuader Day.” Over 10,000 area citizens — including North Dakota Governor William Guy — came to the base to witness the historic landing.
The B-52 Today
Today’s B-52 has been modernized and updated, just like the Minot Air Force Base itself. Construction of Minot AFB (named for the nearby city of Minot) began in May 1956 and it officially opened as the Air Defense Command (ADC) 32nd Air Base Group early in 1957.
The base’s location in the geographic center of North America made it perfect for a Minuteman missile wing complex to be built in 1961. In 1961, the Air Force selected the land around Minot to be the location for a new Minuteman I ICBM complex. The 455th Strategic Missile Wing was activated in December 1962 along with the 455th Missile Maintenance Squadron. The 740th and 741st Strategic Missile Squadrons operationally controlled the ICBMs and in January 1963, the 742nd Strategic Missile Squadron was activated with a third squadron of Minuteman ICBMS.
In Images of America, Minot Air Force Base, Larson gives us the opportunity to see the base go from a patch of open prairie grassland to the modern installation it is today.
Lt. Col. George A. Larson, USAF (Ret.), graduated from Iowa State University with a bachelor of science degree in history and a commission as a second lieutenant in the US Air Force in May 1969. He is the author of Arcadia’s Images of America: Whiteman Air Force Base, as well as numerous other military aviation and history books and hundreds of magazine articles.
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