Francis E. Warren Air Force Base unique among US Air Force Installations. F.E. Warren AFB is one of only three strategic missile bases in the United States. The base houses LGM-30G Minuteman Intercontinental Ballistic Nuclear Missiles (ICBM). The 90th Missile Wing is responsible for the security and deployment of the only land based ICBM’s the United States operates.
F.E. Warren AFB is located directly west of Cheyenne, Wyoming. This location provides strategic value because the base lies almost directly between Mexico and Canada. The main base spans an area of almost 6,000 acres and satellite remote missile bases in Nebraska and Colorado add another 12,600 acres to the bases territory.
The area of F.E. Warren was first used by the United States Cavalry in 1867 and named Fort Russell, after the Civil War hero David Allen Russell. The fort was created out of the need to protect workers on the Union Pacific Railroad in Native American attacks in the Wyoming territory. The 1862 Railroad Act moved civilian workers deep into Native American territories and the working parties were subject to regular attack.
Fort Russell was used as one of the largest military muster and training camps in World War I.
Fort Russell became Fort Francis E. Warren in 1929, and in 1949 would become Francis E. Warren Air Force Base. Only eight years later in 1957, F.E. Warren Air Force Base became the first intercontinental ballistic missile base in the United States.
The base earns its namesake from Francis Emory Warren, a 19 year old Medal of Honor recipient during the American Civil War. He distinguished himself on the battlefield and the in the political arena, serving as a US Senator for 37 years.
In June of 1992, F.E. Warren became the 90th Missile Wing, and the following year it became the permanent station for the 20th Air Force, the command and headquarters of the United States ICBM Wings.
The primary mission of the 90th Missile Wing is to support the 20th Air Force in its role of defending America and its interests at home and globally with worldwide strike capabilities. 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the 90th Missile Wing keeps combat ready Minute Man ICBM’s on alert for global launch at a moment’s notice.
F.E. Warren AFB is home to all components of the 90th Missile Wing. This includes the 90th Maintenance Group, 90th Security Forces Group, the 90th Mission Support Group and the 90th Operations Group. The 90th Operations Group consists of a helicopter squadron, operational support squadron and three missile squadrons. F.E. Warren AFB is also home to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, the Civil Air Patrol Wyoming Wing and the Area Defense Counsel.
Notes of Interest
A unique feature of F.E. Warren AFB is the decided lack of fixed wing aircraft runways. The entire base is supported by a large heliport that used by UH-1N Huey helicopters. The rotary aircraft are used as the workhorses of the base and transport maintenance and launch crews to and from their silos and operation areas that dot the base.
The base is also designated as a National Historic Landmark for its antique red brick buildings. These are some of the original buildings on the base and have survived decades in the harsh Wyoming climate.
F.E. Warren AFB has made a dynamic transformation from small cavalry outpost to one of the most important installations in the United States.