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Library > Fact Sheets > 576th Flight Test Squadron


Posted 9/8/2006 Printable Fact Sheet


The Mission of the 576th Flight Test Squadron is to execute Air Force Space Command's Force Development Evaluation program for America's Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Force and serve as the command's experts for missile systems capability and Air Force application demonstrations.

Mission Description

In executing the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Initial Operational Test and Evaluation and Force Development Evaluation programs, the 576th Flight Test Squadron prepares for and conducts ground and flight tests to collect, analyze, and report performance, accuracy, and reliability data for the Joint Staff, USSTRATCOM, Air Staff, and AFSPC. The 576th Flight Test Squadron identifies missile system requirements, demonstrates current and future war fighting capabilities, and validates missile system improvements and upgrades.


The vision of the 576th Flight Test Squadron is to be the worlds premier test unit demonstrating deterrence and the future of missiles in America's defense.


1) Conduct successful operations
2) Provide dynamic mission support
3) Take care of the people
4) Provide modern flexible infrastructure
5) Ensure environmental excellence
6) Maximize safety & security in all that we do

Unit History

The 576th Flight Test Squadron was first activated at Davis-Monthan Field, Arizona, on 26 January 1943 as the 576th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) where it participated in the strategic bombardment campaigns of Europe and Germany as part of Eighth Air Force. Our involvement during the Normandy invasion and the Battle of the Bulge resulted in seven European-African-Middle Eastern Theater campaign streamers and one Distinguished Unit Citation.

The 576th was inactivated on 13 September 1945 with the close of WW II. It was reactivated on 24 September 1947 as a very heavy bombardment squadron at Barksdale Field Louisiana, the squadrons mission was changed in November 1947 to a light jet bomb squadron. After being again inactivated in November 1949, the squadron was reactivated on 6 March 1958 as the 576th Strategic Missile Squadron (SMS) assigned to Cook AFB (later renamed Vandenberg AFB). On 1 April 1958, the 576th was assigned to the Strategic Air Command (SAC) as an Atlas Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) unit, the nation's first ICBM unit. On 2 April 1966, the 576th was once again inactivated.

Redesignated the 576th Test Squadron on 29 August 1991, it was again activated on 1 September 1991 as part of the activation of the Twentieth Air Force, America's only ICBM numbered Air Force. The 576th designation was chosen to ensure the history and lineage of the 576th would continue with the important job of testing ICBMs. The 576th has almost made a complete circle since the 576th Strategic Missile Squadron tested the Atlas missile in the late 50's and early 60's. In July 1993, the 576th was assigned to the Fourteenth Air Force at Vandenberg AFB. The squadron was re-designated the 576th Flight Test Squadron (FLTS) on 1 July 1994. Then, on 22 February 1996 the squadron was reassigned from the Fourteenth Air Force to Space Warfare Center (SWC) at Schriever AFB, Colorado.

The 576th Flight Test Squadron has a very long and distinguished history in the Air Force. On 14 March 1996, the 576th, the 30th Maintenance Squadron (MXS), and portions of the 30th Logistics Squadron (LSS) merged to form the new 576FLTS. Whereas the three organizations previously reported, through different commanders, to the 30th Space Wing at Vandenberg AFB, this merger aligned all personnel directly involved with Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) testing at Vandenberg under one commander. As part of the merger, the "576th" also became a direct reporting unit to the Space Warfare Center.

Point of Contact
30th SW Public Affairs
(805) 606-3595
DSN 276-3595

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