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Casing ceremony
Airman 1st Class Michael Jordan, 564th Missile Squadron chef and the youngest member of the squadron, and Col. David Durgan, 341st Operations Group commander, hold the guidon while Lt. Col. Wayne Shaw, 564th MS commander, cases it during a ceremony to inactivate the squadron Aug. 15. The casing of a unit's guidon is a solemn act, steeped in military tradition. The unit's colors are furled for final time time and covered to signify the inactivation of the unit as well as the successful completion of its nuclear deterrent mission. (U.S. Air Force photo/John Turner)
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564th Missile Squadron officially inactivated

Posted 8/25/2008   Updated 8/25/2008 Email story   Print story


by Valerie Mullett
341st Missile Wing Public Affairs Office

8/25/2008 - MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- Hundreds of members of the 341st Missile Wing, civilian dignitaries, past 564th Missile Squadron members, friends and family gathered at Medal of Honor Park Aug. 15 for the official inactivation ceremony of the 564th MS. It was the last step in the process that took more than 13 months to complete and included the deactivation and removal of 50 Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles. 

"It is a great day because we can take the time to reflect on all the 564th has stood for and accomplished," said Col. Michael Fortney, 341st MW commander, before he introduced the ceremony host Maj. Gen. Roger Burg, 20th Air Force commander. 

General Burg was quick to say how honored he was to be at the ceremony with the Airmen, leadership of the base and Great Falls, as well as current and former members of the 564th MS. He also reiterated there was still a mission to complete. 

"We are here to celebrate and commemorate the achievements of the 564th [Missile Squadron] and mark the end of their mission, but not the end of the ICBM strategic deterrent mission," he said. 

The general then presented the squadron with an Air Force Outstanding Unit Award and the streamer was added to the guidon. 

Lt. Col. Wayne Shaw, commander of the 564th MS, knick named 'Deuce' because it was the second of two types of ICBM operating systems installed at Malmstrom, was emotional in his final public appearance for the squadron. He spoke after being presented with the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal for accomplishments while in command. 

"When I was given this command, I was told 'the sun always shines on the 564th,'" he said. "Today, that is truly the case. You have accomplished an amazing feat over the last year, and have done it professionally and positively. I am extremely proud of each and every one of the men and women in this squadron. If I could quote retired Maj. Gen. Phillip Ardery's farewell message again, the first commander of the 564th, 'We have all done our duty and now we must move on to new challenges and assignments.'" 

Finally, he asked his troops to always stay true to the heritage of 'Deuce.' 

After the official inactivation order was read and Colonel Shaw relinquished command, casing of the squadron guidon followed, with the assistance of some of the former crew members on hand for the ceremony. Colonel Shaw then asked permission to dismiss the 564th MS, which General Burg acknowledged, and the remaining members of the 564th MS marched to merge into the formation that represented the rest of the wing. Many of the remaining squadron members have been reassigned to other units here at Malmstrom. 

"When I was at Vandenberg [Air Force Base] training, I knew the 564th was going to be inactivated," said 1st Lt. Arthur Jones, 564th MS missile combat crew commander. "But I specifically asked to be assigned here because of its reputation for being the best and because of its rich history. The friends I have made in this squadron will last a lifetime."

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